Girls in the juvenile justice system have special needs that were not being met by a system traditionally designed for boys. In general, female juvenile offenders tend to be victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and experience depression and low self-esteem that are linked to at-risk behaviors and delinquency. Substance abuse and school failure are other prominent characteristics of at-risk girls. Their situation was exacerbated given the lack of comprehensive gender-specific programs and services in Hawai`i.
In September 2004, a Girls Court – one of the first in the nation – was launched on O`ahu by the Family Court. The goal of the program is to prevent or reduce female juvenile delinquency by encouraging healthy attitudes, behaviors, and life styles as well as promoting self-control and responsibility.
Visit the Girls Court site at http://www.girlscourthawaii.org.