Report identifies 155 juvenile crime cases so far in 2012

A new report released by the Juvenile Justice Unit (JJU) has detailed 155 cases of crime committed this year by young offenders.  Most of the cases are linked to suspects between 16 and 18 years of age, whilst a growing number of crimes were also found to involve young women.

Local media has reported that of the 155 cases of juvenile crime committed this year, 20 were related to assault, while 20 were filed over theft and robbery. A total of 18 cases related to drug abuse were also filed.

The JJU, which is run under the auspices of the Home Ministry, also reported that a number of crimes in the report were found to include “sexual misconduct”and vandalism.

Last year, the JJU concluded that the “vast majority” of crimes linked to young offenders between April 1 and June 30, 2011, related to people who did not attend school.

According to Haveeru, the JJU’s latest report found 68 percent of young offenders included in the report were found not to have attended school. A large proportion of the crimes committed in the report were linked to suspects aged between 16 and 18.

Local media added that there was a growing number of cases involving young females related to possession of alcohol and “disruption of harmony” relating to illegal gatherings.

The JJU concluded that a lack of proper nurturing, the negative influence of media and adults pushing young people into a life of crime were some of the key drivers for the number of offences in the report.

When adressing the work of a correctional training centre based in Kaafu Atoll, the report added that six children had undertaken rehabilitation programmes at the site so far this year.  However, Haveeru reported that there were concerns children being reintroduced back into society after committing offences were not getting the “necessary” encouragement and support.


Children kept in Feydhufinolhu centre indefinitely, confirm police

The Maldives Police Service have confirmed they have taken kids from the streets whom they suspect could become involved in crimes, and placed them in a Correctional Training Centre on Feydhufinolhu for an indefinite duration, without a court order.

The children taken to the centre, who are under the age of 18, are kept “until we can guarantee that they are fully ready to be released into society,” said Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam.

”They are kids who are on the streets, and do not attend school,” Shiyam said. ”We only take the children after informing their parents and after they have agreed.”

Many children taken to the centre “are illiterate and do not even know how to pray,” he said, explaining that they were taught subjects like Islam, handicrafts and computing.

”We have 18 children in the centre,” he said. ”We have not released any kid since [it opened in] August.”

”At first some parents were not satisfied,” Shiyam said, ”but later they realised that their children’s behaviour was improving, and now they are happy.”

He said that the date the kids would be handed back to their parents was yet to be decided.

However, a 16 year old boy who was kept in the centre for over two months told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that many kids had been released from the centre, ”hurting the morale of the kids left behind.”

He said parents were told that the kids were being taken to the centre for a special programme and would be released after six months.

”But one day the Commissioner of Police came and said that they had made the duration for 3 months,” he said. ”All the kids were very happy and were hoping to meet their families and loved ones soon.”

He said it had now been more than seven months: ”They released some of them, and kept the rest,” he said. ”There are kids there taken from Fuvamulah, Addu and Male’.”

He said that he was taken while sitting in front of his house.

”Police suspected that I was involved in a stabbing case and took me away,” he said. ”Everyone there is so young and so isolated and stressed – on September 5 a kid there even attempted suicide because he missed his Mum and Dad. Everyone feels like they have been banished.”

He claimed that the police only gave the children a five minute phone call to speak with their families, and that many parents confused about what was going on and when their children would be released.