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Children Commit Crime When They Aren't In School

Monday 22 Oct 2001

Rising youth crime is the inevitable counterpart to sky-rocketing long-term truancy, ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Let's be absolutely clear about this: our kids are getting themselves into more and more serious trouble because we are allowing them to completely drop out of school."

Figures released today show that crimes committed by children have jumped by 4,000 in just twenty-four months.

"It is simple for a child as young as seven to drop out of one school and never enrol in another. The next time we'll see that kid is in court.

"The long-term truancy service is hunting for 1,000 more children than five years ago. We have completely lost track of 342 children since January last year.

"Despite his promises in Opposition, Education Minister Trevor Mallard hasn't even attempted to introduce a central database to monitor enrolments. Answers to my parliamentary questions show he hasn't even requested any advice on the subject.

"Today's figures are the very beginning. Today's truants will continue to clog the court and welfare systems. One huge part of the solution is to implement a central database as soon as possible," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

ENDS


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