Violent offending by young people in New Zealand: 'Perception versus reality' - Zoey Caldwell, Dr Anna Duncan, Leigh McPhail (Ministry of Justice)Presentation Transcript
Violent offending by young people in New Zealand: perception versus reality Presented by: Dr Anna Duncan, Senior Advisor, Youth Justice Team Leigh McPhail, Advisor , Youth Justice Team Zoey Caldwell, Advisor, Youth Justice Team
Selected nature of crime reporting tends to play on public fears
Long-running and controversial debate on whether violence in the media ‘causes’ violent behaviour
Increase in reality and forensic drama has blurred lines between crime news and crime entertainment
Statistical overview: Police apprehensions 15% 10% Proportion of total Raw # of youth violence apprehensions ↑ 47.5% in last 10 years Youth violence apprehension rate (population adjusted) ↑ 25.3% 4,655 3,156 Violence apprehensions 30,451 31,027 Total apprehensions 2006 1997 Apprehensions of 14-16 year olds
Statistical overview: violence apprehension rates by offence type
Statistical overview: prosecutions for violence offences
In 2006, there were 6,202 prosecuted cases involving young people (a 5% increase from 2004)
24% of these cases involved violence offences
Outcomes of these cases:
7% - Convicted in District or High Court
27% - Proved in Youth Court
27% - s.282 discharge
39% - Not proved
Statistical overview: self-report data
Youth 2000 survey: Violence and NZ young people
49% of male students and 32% of female students reported that they had physically hurt someone else, on purpose, in the last year
28% of males and 15% of females reported being in a serious physical fight in the last year
9% of males and 3% of females reported carrying a weapon (e.g. a knife) in the last year
3% of males and 1% of females reported using a weapon in the last year
Students who were victims of violence were more likely to be the perpetrators of violence
Public perceptions of youth offending
Public perceptions and understandings of youth offending and youth justice are largely informed by the media
Public knowledge of trends in youth offending and of youth justice systems is poor
Opinion polls show that many people:
over-estimate the amount and seriousness of youth offending
think youth justice systems and sentencing practice are too lenient
favour punitive responses to youth offending
However, opinion polls ask simple questions that provide little context, which tend to evoke quite punitive responses
More in-depth research, where people are given more information about specific cases, evoke less punitive responses favouring prevention and rehabilitation
Implications for practice
Risk factors for violent offending include:
- Behavioural difficulties e.g. conduct disorder
- Mental and other health related issues
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Being a victim of violence
Good assessment is crucial to determining appropriate intervention
What are your experiences?
Are your caseloads for violent offences increasing?
What kinds of violence are you seeing?
What do you think are the drivers of the increase in youth apprehensions for violence?
What kinds of responses are needed?
Any other thoughts?
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Doyle, A. (2006) How not to think about crime in the media. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, October 2006 , Vol 48, No 6 pp837-850.
Fleming, T.M., Watson, P.D., Robinson, E., Ameratunga, S., Dixon, R., Clark, T.C., Crengle, S. (2007) Violence and New Zealand Young People: Findings of Youth 2000 – A National Secondary School Youth Health and Wellbeing Survey. Auckland: The University of Auckland.
Hough, M. & Roberts, J.V. (2004) Youth crime and youth justice: public opinion in England and Wales. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Maxwell, G. (1999) Youth offending: putting the headlines in context. www.justice.govt.nz?youth/media/rates1099.html accessed on 18 June 2007.
Moffitt, T.E., Silva, P.A., Lynam, D.R., Henry, B. (1994) Self-reported delinquency at age 18: New Zealand’s Dunedin Multi-Disciplinary Health and Development Study . In J. Junger-Tas & G.J. Terlouw (Eds.) The International self-report delinquency project (pp. 356-371). Den Haag; Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands.
Nacro (2001) Youth Crime Briefing: Public opinion and youth justice. London: Nacro.
Roberts, J.V. (2004) Public Opinion and the Evolution of Juvenile Justice Policy in Western Nations . In: M. Tonry and A. Doob (eds.) Youth Crime and Youth Justice: Comparative and Cross-National Perspectives. Crime and Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Soler, M. (2001) Public Opinion on Youth, Crime and Race: A guide for advocates. United States: Youth Law Centre
Police official statistics. www.stats.govt.nz
Youth Court statistics. www.justice.govt.nz
For further information or discussion please feel free to contact us: Dr Anna Duncan – [email_address] (currently on parental leave) Leigh McPhail – [email_address] Zoey Caldwell – [email_address] www.justice.govt/youth-justice/