Age of offending falls, survey finds

The peak age for offending among children is falling, the Mori
youth survey 2004 published last week reveals.

The report, carried out for the Youth Justice Board, says the peak
age for offending is now 14.

However, if a child has not committed an offence by this age, they
are unlikely to do so, the report suggests. By contrast, “the
younger a person is when they first offend, the more likely they
are to commit serious offences in the future”.

“This proves that early intervention is key,” said a YJB
spokesperson. “This picture helps to inform our policies and
practice. We know, for example, that keeping young people in school
is vital if we are to cut crime. Our Safer Schools Partnerships and
Restorative Justice in Schools initiatives are helping to reduce
truancy, bullying and exclusion.”

Excluded young people are far more likely to have committed a

A quarter of young people in mainstream education have committed a
crime, compared with 60 per cent of excluded young people.

Although the proportion of excluded young offenders reoffending has
fallen since 2003, the proportion of young people in mainstream
schools who reoffend has risen from 50 per cent in 2001 to 63 per

The survey also finds that excluded young people are almost four
times more likely to have tried cannabis than children in
mainstream education. 

– Mori Youth Survey 2004 from

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