Second Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report reveals a continued fall in youth offending rates

The second Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report, published today by the Ministry of Justice, shows the substantial drop in youth offending identified in the first report has continued, says Associate Justice Minister Aupito William Sio.

The report presents data showing the flow of children and young people through the youth justice system from 2010 to 2018. Oranga Tamariki, Police, and the Ministry of Justice each capture data about the performance of the youth justice system which is then analysed to produce the report.

“These reports are important as they help those involved in the youth justice system better understand the issues and trends in the system,” says Aupito William Sio.

“The report provides an insight into the performance of the youth justice system and builds on 14 years of work by Government agencies to develop a statistical process to monitor the performance of the youth justice system. Both the report and the dataset will evolve over time to reflect emerging issues, priorities and availability of useful quality data which includes changes this year to the Police dataset, leading to a later release date of this report.

“The information in these reports contribute to the discussion and action about how best to hold young people who offend to account, while recognising their needs and vulnerability, and making a positive difference to their lives.

The latest report shows that between 2010 and 2018, there has been a large reduction in the number of children aged 10 to 13 and young people aged 14 to 16 who offended, with offending rates dropping by 55% and 58% respectively.

“While the rate of offending by Māori young people has not reduced at the same rate as non-Māori, it should be noted that substantial gains have been made in reducing the number of Māori youth in the justice system with 3,400 fewer young Māori in the youth justice system in 2018 compared to 2010 (a 56% drop). 

“There is a similar trend for young Māori appearing in the Youth Court with almost 1,200 fewer young Māori appeared in the Youth Court over the same period (a reduction of 55%).

“The report also shows that there are opportunities in the youth justice system to further reduce youth offending.

“For example, while overall offending has reduced, serious crime has not fallen to the same extent as minor to moderate crime, so more serious crime now makes up a larger proportion of all offending by children and young people than previously. However, the numbers of children and young people involved in more serious offending has dropped markedly since 2010 (a 44% reduction).  This means there are far fewer victims of serious youth offending.

The youth justice system was extended to include most 17-year-olds who offend on 1 July this year, and two new Youth Court judges will be appointed following the lift on the cap on numbers of District Court Judges.

“The Government’s criminal justice reform programme, Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata, will continue to look at how better justice outcomes can be achieved by focussing on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration, especially Māori and young people,” says Aupito William Sio. 

The report can be found here