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Youth offending stable

3 December 2004

Youth offending stable

Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson today welcomed Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft’s comments that youth offending is relatively stable.

“Child, Youth and Family’s own data supports Judge Becroft’s comments. Over the last three years, the number of young offenders referred to the department has remained at around one per cent of the total number of 10-16 year olds in New Zealand.”

Ruth Dyson said it was important to remember that the vast majority of young people did not offend, and that the youth justice system held offenders accountable, either by way of alternative action by the Police or a youth justice family group conference.

“The number of young offenders being referred for youth justice family group conferences remains small, and the conferences are effective. Of the young people involved, up to 80 per cent only have one or two conferences, and a further 10 per cent have three.”

Ms Dyson said Child, Youth and Family ran a number of programmes for the very small group of young people who were more likely to be become chronic adult offenders, including the Reducing Youth Offending Programe and Supported Bail Programme.

“The government is taking a broad, responsible approach to the complex youth justice area. We have boosted residential services for young people, with more youth justice beds in Auckland and Christchurch. A new targeted bail programme is providing intensive community-based support for young people on remand, and we are providing better opportunities for families to support young offenders.”

ENDS

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