Press release

Young people and crime: they’re not as bad as we think

28 June 2010

New research from NFER once again opens up the mismatch between the perceptions of the extent to which young people are involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, and the reality.

What is the context?
Despite statistical evidence showing that fewer young people are now involved in offending, public perception has yet to change, with a majority of British adults overestimating the number of young people involved in crime. This leaves young people facing the challenge of growing up in a culture that has widespread negative perceptions of youth.

The NFER study, Positivity in practice: approaches to improving perceptions of young people and their involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour focuses on the range of approaches that local authorities and their partner organisations are undertaking to improve these negative perceptions, and highlights the need for a more co-ordinated and strategic approach.

What works?

What are the benefits?

What needs to be done?

Local authorities should:

NFER’s Kerry Martin said, ‘The need to address the negative perceptions of young people is acknowledged to be important and various national and local targets for improvement have been set. This study raises a number of ideas that can be taken forward by policy makers and strategic leads at both national and local level’.

END


The report Positivity in practice: approaches to improving perceptions of young people and their involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour is available at: /publications/PYC01/

For more information contact Gail Goodwin, NFER Media and Communications Manager, on 01753 637159 / g.goodwin@nfer.ac.uk or Allie Chownsmith, Media Assistant on 01753 637155 / a.chownsmith@nfer.ac.uk


Notes to editors:

The aim of this NFER-funded research was to investigate the approaches being taken by local authorities and partner organisations to improve how young people are perceived, especially in relation to youth crime and anti-social behaviour. The study also looked at the challenges and benefits of activities to improve public perceptions about young people, and the methods used to measure the impact of these activities.
The project’s methods included: an initial desk-based study of policy documents, research papers and media reports; telephone interviews with staff from 20 local authorities/areas (including personnel from the Integrated Youth Support and Development Service, Youth Offending Service, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships/Community Safety Partnerships); and three case studies involving interviews with front-line staff and young people.