Youth offending rates fall

The first Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report has been released today by the Associate Minister of Justice Aupito William Sio.

The report shows the rate of offending for children (aged 10-13 years) has fallen by 59%, and offending by young people (aged 14-16 years) has dropped by 63%, between 2009/10 and 2016/17.

“While there has been an overall improvement across the system, it has not been as significant for some groups. Reduction in offending rates for European/Other has been much higher than the reduction for young Pasifika and rangatahi Māori.  Māori are increasingly making up a greater proportion of those who appear in the Youth Court,” Aupito William Sio said.

“The report shows there are opportunities in the youth justice system to further reduce youth offending. That is why it is a key objective of this Government to reframe the justice system from a punitive to a rehabilitation focus and reduce the number of Maori and Pasifika youth in the system”.

There has also been a significant reduction in the number of young people (aged 14-16 years) whose offending was serious enough to lead to a Family Group Conference or court action over this period, which has decreased from 4,860 to 2,026.

The report shows there was a substantial decrease in the number of young people in the Youth Court between 2010/11 and 2016/17, however, the number of young people who were remanded in custody has changed very little since 2010/11. This means the custodial remand rate has increased.

“The report shows that the Youth Justice system is generally performing well, but more needs to be done and I will be working with my Ministerial colleagues to continue to reduce these numbers.

While the dataset was completed in 2015, no comprehensive information has yet been made publicly available.  Youth justice agencies, including Oranga Tamariki, have been working to develop a report in a format that can be readily used by the public.

The report is a significant accomplishment, and builds on 14 years of work by various agencies, providing valuable insights that enable more in-depth understanding of how the youth justice system is operating. It will be published every six months.

“The report will help inform public discussion about crime, victimisation and reducing the prison population.  It will also demonstrate the Government’s commitment to addressing outstanding challenges,” Aupito William Sio said.