Typical young offender gets younger


The peak age for offending among children is younger than in
previous years, according to the latest Mori youth survey 2004,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The report, carried out for the Youth Justice Board, found that
the peak age for offending was 14, although it suggests that if a
child has not committed an offence by this age, they are unlikely
to do so.

However, it warns that “the younger a person is when they
first offend, the more likely they are to commit serious offences
in the future”.

As in previous years, excluded young people were far more likely to
commit crime: a quarter of young people in mainstream education had
committed a crime, whereas 60 per cent of excluded young people
have offended.

“Overall, however, offending levels have remained stable
since 2001,” says the report published last week.

Only a minority of young people have experimented with drugs,
although excluded young people have more of an inclination to try

Excluded young people were almost four times more likely to have
tried cannabis than children in mainstream education, although four
in 10 young people in mainstream school and more than half of
excluded young people said they had drunk alcohol in the past


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