Services aimed at changing the behaviour of young offenders and
those that support young victims need to be reviewed because they
often focus on the same people, a new study suggests.
Being a victim of crime at the age of 12 is one of the strongest
indicators that a child would offend by 15, finds a study by the
University of Edinburgh.
Those who offended at 12 were also likely to become victims by
the age of 15. The research said some young people are bounced
between offending and victimisation.
Dr Lesley McAra of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Few
youngsters are specialists in violent offending. Instead, certain
lifestyles provide opportunities for getting involved in
The study of 4,300 young people who started secondary school in
1998 showed that boys offended only slightly more often than girls
between the ages of 13 and 15.
Household income and social class were only slightly related to
offending. A fifth of 15-year-olds were members of gangs and
offending was higher among gang members.