Excluded children more likely to commit offences

Children excluded from schools are more likely to become
offenders than school pupils, and commit more serious offences,
according to a survey commissioned by the Youth Justice Board,
writes Clare Jerrom.

Reported levels of offending among mainstream and excluded
pupils have not changed significantly since 1999. The latest survey
showed the figures to be 26 per cent for those at school and 64 per
cent for those excluded.

The most common offence committed by excluded offenders is
handling stolen goods, 60 per cent, while the most common offence
committed by offenders in school is fare dodging, with 46 per cent,
according to the MORI 2002 Youth Survey.

Offending levels and the likelihood of being caught differ by
regions. The highest levels of offending are in London, the south
east and north east, and the 2001 survey found that young offenders
are more likely to be caught in the north east and Wales.

Levels of mobile phone theft have remained constant since 2001.
Five per cent of mainstream offenders and 25 per cent of excluded
offenders commit this offence.

The survey, which looks at the trends in offending, shows two
thirds of excluded pupils and over half of school pupils have been
victims of crime in the past year. The majority of offences against
young people are committed by other young people.

Young offenders caught committing crime are increasingly being
punished for their crimes, the report says. Youth offending teams,
courts and police are increasingly applying punitive measures such
as apologising to the victim and paying compensation.

The report is available from www.youth-justice-board.gov.uk/policy/reference.html











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