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Young people appearing in court at record low

Young people appearing in court at record low

The number of young people facing court charges has fallen to the lowest level since records began more than 20 years ago, Justice Minister Judith Collins announced today.

The latest Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics show the number of children and young people (aged 10 to 16 years) appearing in court in 2013 decreased from 3,012 to 2,487 – the lowest number since the statistical series began in 1992. Since the peak in 2007, the number of children and young people in court has halved from 5,061 to 2,487 – a drop of 51 per cent.

“The key to reducing long-term crime comes from a collaborative effort to stop young people from appearing court in the first place,” Ms Collins says.

“The Justice sector has renewed its focus on targeting youth offending and keeping young people from appearing before the courts; and the hard work is paying dividends.

“Last year this Government announced a new youth crime target – to reduce youth offending by 25 per cent by 2017 – because the earlier, interim five per cent target had already been exceeded.

“Increased collaboration between the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, Department of Corrections and Courts means the Justice sector is making excellent progress and is well on track to meet, and even exceed this target by 2017.

“Crime is at a 33 year low and we have the opportunity to keep doing what works and finding new and innovative ways to prevent crime from occurring in the first place.

“I acknowledge the whole Justice sector, support agencies and my ministerial colleagues – Christopher Finlayson, Anne Tolley and Chester Borrows – for their continued focus on reducing crime and making New Zealand safer.”

The child and youth statistics show:

• The number of children and young people appearing in court decreased by more than 500 in the past calendar year (from 3,012 to 2,487), the lowest number since statistics began in 1992. Since the peak in 2007, the number of children and young people in court has halved (down 51 per cent from 5,061 to 2,487);
• The most common charges laid in court against children and young people were for theft and burglary offences;
• Children and young people make up less than three per cent of the total number of people appearing in court;

The 2013 Conviction and Sentencing Statistics for adult offenders also show:

• The number of people charged with a violent offence has dropped 24 per cent over the last five years, after steadily increasing between 2004 and 2009;
• The number of people convicted of crimes declined across all age groups, with the 17-19 age groups seeing the biggest decrease over the 12 month period, with a decline of 17 per cent;
• The number of convictions of males aged 17-19 convicted was the lowest since 1980;
• All court clusters saw decreases in the number of convictions over the 2013 year;
• The Wellington court cluster (Wellington, Hutt Valley, Porirua and Chatham Islands District Courts) saw the biggest decrease with convictions down 16 per cent to their lowest level since records began in 1980.
The full statistics are available at www.stats.govt.nz

ends

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