Nicholas Falconer

One in ten young teens involved in crime

A NEW national study of criminal behaviour among 12 and 13-year-olds shows fewer than 10% are engaged in criminal or delinquent behaviour.

But the report found some were at greater risk than others.

The report, to be released today, revealed only a small proportion of children get caught up in crime and delinquency such as stealing, damaging property or skipping school that might attract the attention of authorities.

Australian Institute of Family Studies executive manager Dr Ben Edwards said fighting was the most common delinquent act with almost one in four boys involved in at least one fight in the previous year.

He said almost one in 10 boys had also reported carrying a weapon.

"After fighting, the second most common type of delinquency was truancy, with 15% of boys and 11% of girls admitting to having skipped school for the whole day at least once in the previous 12 months," he said.

"Damaging or destroying other people's property was the most common property offence among boys and girls, followed by stealing from a shop and stealing from another person.

"Overall, 13% of boys and 6% of girls had been suspended or expelled from school, less than those who admitted to skipping school."

Dr Edwards said because of fixed demographic factors such as being male, indigenous or living in urban areas, some children could be more likely to be involved in crime at a young age.


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