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Tasmania - Glossary Term

Juvenile Delinquency (c. 1910 - c. 1990)

c. 1910
c. 1990
Term commonly found on child welfare records

Juvenile delinquency was a term used in the past to describe the potentially illegal behaviour of young people. Delinquency was regarded as likely to lead to conviction for a criminal offence.


Between 1922 and 1963, children accused of juvenile delinquency were more likely to be tested for intellectual disability. If the test was positive, the child would be jointly managed by the Children of the State Department or its successor, the Social Services Department, and the Mental Deficiency Board. The methods of intelligence testing were not sophisticated and the authorities often made mistakes.

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Sources used to compile this entry: Petrow, Stefan, Arabs, boys and larrikins: juvenile delinquents and their treatment in Hobart, 1860-1896, Australian Journal of Legal History, vol. 2, 1996, 37-59 pp,;dn=970302608;res=IELAPA.

Prepared by: Caroline Evans