Young people have a one-in-two chance of being a victim of crime

Article date: 20 October 2004

Half of all young people will be a victim of crime or aggressivebehaviour by the time they reach 16 years old, a new report revealstoday.

Research into young people’s experiences of crime showsthat they are more worried about being a victim of crime than theyare about doing well at school, fitting in with their friends ortheir future.

Norwich Union’s Youth Insight Report captures the viewsand experiences of more than 500 young people aged between 11 and16. The report highlights that they are most concerned abouttoday’s knife culture - with one in five admitting to knowingsomeone under 16 who carries a knife.

The report, written in conjunction with national crime reductionorganisation Crime Concern, shows that although the majority ofyoung people don’t know what the term ‘anti-socialbehaviour’ means, many have been victims of it.

Findings from the report include:

  • One in three has been bullied
  • Three-quarters viewed bullying as a crime
  • Nearly a quarter have been verbally abused in the street by astranger
  • One in four has had their mobile phone stolen
  • The issues they feel will get worse over the next few yearsare drug dealing, underage drinking, violence involving knives,terrorism, violent theft attacks and racism.

Young people today also take a tough stance when it comes topunishment with two thirds believing their peers are not punishedseverely enough and three quarters thinking younger people shouldbe sent to prison if they commit a serious offence.

However, the research showed that a young person in trouble ismore likely to turn to someone of their own age who can relate tothe problems they are experiencing, rather than a parent or anotherfigure in authority.

That is why Norwich Union, in partnership with Crime Concern, islaunching the first Youth Apprentice Scheme to help tackle youthcrime at a community level. The scheme employs young people fromthe local area to train as youth workers in established projectsrun by Crime Concern. It is hoped the scheme will provide positiverole models to help shape young people’s attitudes towardseducation and crime.

Four apprentices aged between 18 and 24 have recently beenappointed to work with younger people in socially deprived areas inNottingham and Leicester. The apprentices have grown up in theareas and are familiar with the specific difficulties and issuesfacing young people who are engaged in crime or identified at beingmost at risk of offending, truancy or social exclusion.

Their brief will be to work with other Crime Concernrepresentatives and young people to help combat some of thefrustrations and pressures that can lead to crime. The apprenticeswill help young people learn new skills, involve them in activitiesand sports and offer guidance with their education and career.

Dominic Clayden, director of technical claims for Norwich UnionInsurance, said: "Our report shows that young people don’tfeel current approaches towards crime are working. We think it isessential to actively involve them in the development of newsolutions to help tackle crime at a grass roots level.

"We have high expectations for the Youth Apprentice Scheme andanticipate that it could become a model for youth crime preventionthat can be rolled out in other cities within the UK."

Neil Parnell, project manager from Crime Concern, added: "Ourexperience has shown that one of the most successful ways to reduceyouth crime and create safer neighbourhoods is to work with youngpeople from the local area. One of the reasons for this is thatyoung people respond more positively to other young people whounderstand their community first hand. The Youth Apprentice Schemebuilds on this learning and is a fresh and innovative way to tacklethe root cause of youth crime."

The creation of the Youth Apprentice Scheme follows on from theadult-focused Norwich Union Neighbourhood Apprentice Programmewhich launched in 2003.


Media contacts:
Charlotte Speedy or Matt Buchanan at QBO Bell Pottinger on 020 78612424
Jenny Chapman at Norwich Union on 01603 68 22 64 / 07775 822642

For copies of the full report please call 0207 861 2486

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union Insurancecommissioned Opinion Leader Research to carry out in-depth focusgroups with young people aged between 11- 16 living in sociallydeprived areas of Nottingham and London during the month of August.Further interviews were conducted with over 500 young peoplethroughout the UK by QRS in September.

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About Crime Concern
Crime Concern is a crimereduction organisation working to create safer communities inEngland and Wales. We run 40 projects based in some of thecountry’s most deprived neighbourhoods and estates. Our aimis to offer young people a way out of offending, disillusion,boredom and disaffection by involving them once again in theircommunities. Our successful approaches include mentoring, familyliteracy, neighbourhood safety, family support, youth inclusion andjunior youth inclusion schemes.

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