Young People who have Offended
Young people who have been charged with a criminal offence in the ACT.
What do we measure?
The number of children and young people aged 10-17 years, against whom a charge, laid by the police that must be answered in court, per 100,000 of the population. A young person will only be counted once during the reference period.
Why is this important?
The proportion of young people in the population that may have committed offences may infer trends in offending by young people, by analysing rates over time.
During adolescence young people face new challenges, learn new skills and progress to leading more independent lives. Risk taking behaviour can be part of this development. While many young people exhibit some risk taking behaviour, only a minority will come into contact with the criminal justice system.52
Young people's offending can be a concern to their families, schools and the wider community. Research indicates that young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system are more likely to go on to become adult offenders. The impacts on their lives through disruption to education, relationships with family and friends, employment and the stigmatisation from involvement in the criminal justice system, can lead to a range of poor outcomes.53
Young people are also more likely to be victims of crime, which can also lead to involvement in offending.
The youth offending rate per 100,000 young people aged 10-17 years in the ACT decreased by 24 per cent between 2015-16 and 2016-17. This rate continues to decrease each year and represents the lowest rate of youth offending nationally.54 This trend shows that youth offending has significantly reduced since the introduction of the the Blueprint.55
The ACT Government emphasises diversion of young people from the criminal justice system through the Blueprint. Diversion may include restorative justice practices, as well as formal cautioning, protective custody and other diversionary programs, such as drug and alcohol assessment and treatment programs.
Information from this indicator will continue to inform government policies and services about initiatives that are effective in minimising young people's contact with the criminal justice system and reducing reoffending.
How is the ACT Progressing?
Table 41: Number and rate per 100,000 of ACT young people aged 10-17 years who offend, 2008-17
Source: 45190DO004201617 Recorded Crime - Offenders, Australia, 2016-17 table 20. Released 8/2/18 ABS.
Note Trend data may differ from those previously published due to data revisions. Please see explanatory notes on the ABS website for details about rate calculations and notes on offences that are included for this measure.
The number of ACT children and young people aged 10-17 years who committed offences has reduced significantly over the period of time from 983 in 2008-09 to 319 in 2016-17. Please see the Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012-2022 Progress Report 2012-17 56 for further information.
52 Richards K 2011, What makes juvenile offenders different from adult offenders? Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
53 ACT Government 2016, A Picture of ACTs Children and Young People 2016
54 ABS, 4519.0 Recorded Crime – Offenders, 2016–17, Table 20.
55 ACT Government 2012, Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012–22
56 ACT Government 2017, Blueprint for Youth Justice in the ACT 2012–22 Progress Report 2012–17