Adolescence: A Time That Matters (F) (S) by UNICEF


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UNICEF/95-0650/Toutounji In conflict with the law When they are arrested, young people may face harsh punishment and be denied the legal protections afforded to adults. Many countries do not have a separate juvenile justice system. • In some countries, a judge can put children in jail because they are dirty or sleeping on the street, have run away from home or have lost their identity papers. • Of all phases of the justice procedure, it is on arrest and immediately thereafter, while in police custody, that an accused juvenile is most likely to become the victim of torture and denied the presence of parents, a social worker or a legal representative.

Abused children are more likely to abuse their future children and partners. A US study found that an abused or neglected child is 53% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile; 38% more likely to be arrested as an adult; and 38% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. • Surveys from nine Caribbean countries revealed that one fifth of males reported carrying a weapon to school in the previous 30 days; and nearly as many have been in a fight using weapons. One in five boys and one in eight girls report that, at some time, they have belonged to a gang.

In Lima (Peru), it was found that 90% of young mothers aged 12 to 16 were victims of rape – the majority by their father, stepfather or other male relative. • In the United States, 4 in 10 girls who had first intercourse at age 13 or 14 report it was either nonvoluntary or unwanted. ” • A study of 12- to 17-year-olds in South Africa revealed that 65% were concerned about their personal safety, with 62% citing fear of sexual or physical abuse as a concern. • Girls who have been sexually abused during childhood are more likely to engage in early sexual intercourse and are at a greater risk of unwanted and early pregnancies and of contracting STIs 31 You Need to Know...

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