oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Juvenile delinquency in Botswana and the 1981 Children's Act



Until recently, no special provision was made in Botswana for dealing with juvenile delinquents, it being left to the courts to protect their particular interests. In 1981, the legislature intervened by enacting the Children's Act. As in many other societies, juvenile delinquency has always been with us, but it has until recently not constituted a community problem. It became such when following upon the country's independence, social and economic changes set in - among them a rapid process of urbanisation - and the traditional methods of dealing with family and community problems were subjected to considerable strain. To a large extent, today's problem of juvenile delinquency can be attributed to an educational system which somehow failed to respond to our youth's needs. Its weakness has recently been recognised by the Presidential Commission of Economic Opportunities, and, in parliament, has been related directly to juvenile delinquency. Two factors in our educational system in particular, have contrubuted to juvenile delinquency in Botswana: free education at primary school level and the disintegration of the brigades' system.


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