Last updated 19 January 2017
It is important to understand the context of youth offending, that is:
- the problem
- the extent of the problem
- the reasons giving rise to the problem
- the way the problem is addressed.
Statistics show that the number of individual juveniles found to have committed an offence by a court in 2014–15 fell by 6% compared to the previous year, and represents only 0.8% of the 10 to 16 year-old population (Balanced Justice, 2013 ).
Most young people who come into contact with the police before the age of 18 will not become ‘career criminals’; their contact will be short lived and relatively minor, and they will grow out of offending from late adolescence (Snapshot 2011: Children and Young People in Queensland / Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian).
The small group of repeat offenders tends to have common characteristics:
- low socioeconomic status
- low educational attainment
- significant physical and mental health needs
- substance abuse
- a history of childhood abuse and neglect (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011).