Children who become victims of crime, often at the hands of other
children, are at risk of turning into delinquents, according to the
interim findings of the University of Edinburgh’s long-term
research into children, young people and crime.
The research, which involves 4,300 children, is the first of its
kind to prove the link between victimisation and delinquency.
It shows there is a one in five chance of a 12-year-old becoming a
delinquent within a year of suffering victimisation. Delinquent
behaviour even three years later has also been shown to be because
of previous victimisation, it is claimed.
The findings show that the link between delinquency and
victimisation was less to do with social class, parenting, or even
bullying, than the company the children kept.
David Smith, professor of criminology at the University of
Edinburgh’s centre for law and society, said: “A vital factor is
whether young people are mixing with delinquents. The link depends
on who their friends are and what they then do in their spare
– For more on the research go to www.law.ed.ac.uk/cls/esytc/