The Juvenile Justice Board is the body that deals with children who have been accused of committing a crime. They are expected to help the child who has committed the crime by:
- Dealing with the child in the least intimidating and most child-friendly manner possible
- Ensuring that the child is fully informed so that they can participate in the legal process
- Ensuring access to legal aid for the child
- Providing a translator/interpreter if the proceedings are happening in a language that the child does not understand
- Providing care to the child who has committed the crime by involving the Child Welfare Committee in the matter
The punishments for Petty Offences and Serious Offences can include:
- Give the child a firm warning, then let them go home while simultaneously counselling the parents.
- Ordering the child to attend group counselling sessions
- Ordering the child to perform supervised community service
- Ordering the child’s parents or guardians to pay a fine
- Releasing the child on probation. The parents or guardians will have to pay a bond for up to 3 years that makes them responsible for the child’s behaviour. The responsibility can also be handed over to a ‘fit person’ or ‘fit facility,’ which is a person or government organization or NGO that is prepared to accept responsibility for the child.
- Sending the child to a Special Home for up to 3 years.
If the Board thinks that keeping the child in the Special Home would be against their best interests or the best interests of other children in that home, then the child could be sent to a Place of Safety. The Board may also order the child to attend a school or vocational training, or prevent the child from going to a specified place.
The law focuses on making sure children are rehabilitated and the Board or the Children’s Court has to develop and oversee an Individual Care Plan to help this happen. An Individual Care Plan is a development plan addressing issues like health, nutrition, emotional, and educational needs.
The main aim of rehabilitation is to make sure that a child can be put back under the care of their parent or guardian.
If this is not possible, authorities have to make sure the child is put under the care of a child-care institution that is recognised under the Juvenile Justice Act. These institutions have many services to help to rehabilitate children.
The responsibility to care for children doesn’t end when they reach the age of 18 and leave their institution. Children leaving an institution can be given financial support to help them integrate back into society.