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Broken homes behind youth crime

PUBLISHED: 21:10 18 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

BROKEN homes lie at the heart of youth offending, according to a new review of Suffolk cases.

Family relationships breaking down top the reasons why of young people commit crime and are referred to the Youth Offending Service.

BROKEN homes is the root of youth offending, according to a new review of Suffolk cases.

Family relationships breaking down top the reasons why of young people commit crime and are referred to the Youth Offending Service.

The fact was revealed by Allister Hart, YOS locality manager for the Southern area at a meeting of the Ipswich Crime and Disorder Reduction partnership this week .

Mr Hart said the YOS had been running for three years and had dealt with 432 young offenders. That equates to 3.6 per cent of Ipswich's population of young people, although some came from areas like Woodbridge and Felixstowe, and some were repeat offenders.

Mr Hart said: "Our limited analysis of persistent young offenders shows the biggest impact on their offending is family relationships, then pressure put on them by peers. Then behind that is lack of education - only 23pc were in fulltime education, which means 77pc are not in school."

Richard Middleton, from the People at the Centre of Ipswich group, said the Children's Fund was involved in a plan to develop three drop-in centres for youngsters at Whitehouse, Chantry and Queen's Way, to keep them away from crime.

Persistent young offenders in Suffolk wait longer than others anywhere else in the country for sentencing.

It took an average of 97 days between arrest and sentencing in Suffolk, between April and June, according to latest figures released by the Lord Chancellor's department.

In Norfolk the figure was just 61, and dropped to as low as 36 in Wiltshire. The average for the whole country was 68.

However Suffolk improved between July and September, when the wait dropped to 81 days - still higher than 2001's national average of 77.

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