Offender and victim need joint approach

Programmes to deter young offenders from crime and schemes
supporting victims should be merged as the same people are being
targeted by both, according to research sponsored by the Economic
and Social Research Council.

Being a victim of crime at the age of 12 is a powerful indicator
that a child will offend at 15, the Edinburgh Study of Youth
Transitions and Crime finds, while offending at the age of 12
brings a strong possibility of victimisation at 15.

The study, which is tracking 4,300 young people, suggests this
could be because personality traits such as being impulsive and
taking risks lead to both offending and victimisation.

The research finds that boys offend only slightly more often than
girls at the ages of 13-15 if every kind of offending is included.
Girls are more likely to smoke and drink than boys by 15, yet there
are higher levels of serious offending among boys.

Violent girls are much more likely to be drug users, gang members,
truants and from a lower class background than non-violent females.
However, violent boys are similar to non-violent boys in their
behaviour, background and habits.

A fifth of 15-year-olds were members of gangs, although only 5 per
cent belonged to a gang with a name or sign. Offending was higher
among gang members, who were likely to be typically male, from
broken families and from lower class backgrounds.

– Report from

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