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4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2010   
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Contents >> Summary, Australia >> YOUTH OFFENDERS

YOUTH OFFENDERS

The number of offenders aged 10 to 19 years proceeded against by police increased by 5% (4,489) between 2007-08 and 2008-09 to 102,449 offenders. Youth offenders comprised nearly a third (30%) of the total offender population, well above this age group's proportion in the overall Australian population (15%). The over-representation of youth as offenders is reflected in the youth offender rate of 3,552 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years. This was approximately twice as high as the overall offender rate of 1,823 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 years and over.

Between the ages of 11 and 13 years the offender rate more than quadrupled, from 498 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 11 years to 2,111 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 13 years. The increase in offender rates continued until the offender rates peaked at 18 years of age (6,144 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 18 years).


Sex

Of the offenders aged 10 to 19 years, the offender rate for female offenders peaked at a much lower rate than for male offenders, and also at an earlier age. The highest offending rate for females was at age 15 years (3,046 female offenders per 100,000 females aged 15 years) compared with age 18 years for male offenders (9,502 male offenders per 100,000 males aged 18 years). Males aged 18 years offended at a rate more than three times higher than the rate of all male offenders (9,502 male offenders for every 100,000 males aged 18 years compared to 2,846 male offenders per 100,000 males aged 10 and over). Females aged 15 years had a rate almost four times higher than the rate for all female offenders (3,046 female offenders for every 100,000 females aged 15 years compared to 812 female offenders per 100,000 females aged 10 and over).

Youth Offender rate(a), Age and sex
Graph: Youth Offender rate(a), Age and sex



Repeat Offenders

The following analysis on repeat offenders is based on the aggregate data for all jurisdictions, except Western Australia. National data are not available for police proceedings counts. For more information see Explanatory Notes paragraph 44.

In addition to young male offenders having higher rates of offending than female offenders, young male offenders were also proceeded against by police on average more often than young female offenders for each individual year of age, with the exception of those aged 10 years. The average number of times proceeded against for a male offender peaked at age 15 years with an average of 1.9 proceedings per offender. For females the highest average was 1.6 proceedings per female offender at age 14 years.

Youth Offenders, Age and sex by average number of times proceeded against - combined selected states and territories(a)
Graph: Youth Offenders, Age and sex by average number of times proceeded against—combined selected states and territories(a)



Principal Offence

The predominant principal offences for youth offenders were theft (25%) followed by acts intended to cause injury (17%) and public order offences (16%). Between 2007-08 and 2008-09, the largest increases in youth offending rates were for the principal offences of theft (an increase of 48 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years), public order (an increase of 39 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years), and acts intended to cause injury (an increase of 34 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years). During this same period, decreased rates of youth offending were most evident for unlawful entry with intent (a decrease of 23 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years) and fraud and deception (a decrease of 13 offenders per 100,000 persons aged 10 to 19 years).

Youth Offender Rate(a), Selected principal offence(b)
Graph: Youth Offender Rate(a), Selected principal offence(b)


The impact of age on patterns of youth offending is further illustrated by the following graph. From the age of 12 years there was a noticeable increase in the rate at which theft was the predominant principal offence, peaking at the age of 16 years. By the age of 18 years, public order offences had overtaken both theft and acts intended to cause injury as the most prevalent principal offence. The rate at which youth were proceeded against by police for illicit drug offences continued to increase for each year of age from 10 to 19 years, whereas offending rates for the other three offences all peaked and started to decrease prior to the age of 19 years.

Youth offender rate(a), Selected principal offence by age
Graph: Youth offender rate(a), Selected principal offence by age






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