Juvenile delinquents start young

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Newspapers AD and Trouw discuss about the current situation on why children as young as 10 get involved in misconduct.

10 April 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - AD and Trouw have reports on the large number of young children involved in all kinds of misconduct. AD writes that "The Netherlands has 130,000 juvenile delinquents under 12", while Trouw says that “one in three under 12-year-olds is involved in misconduct".

The Netherlands has around one million children between the age of 7 and 11. Around 4,500 10 and 11-year olds are picked up by the police each year, 15 percent of them more than once. The figures were taken from a book on crime among children under 12 which will be published this summer.

The most common offences include animal abuse, setting fires, bullying and stealing. Most of the offenders are 11 and 10 years old, younger children are an exception. In Trouw, one of the writers says that misconduct at a young age can be the start of a criminal career.

"But the problem is that we still don't know when mischief is a forerunner of criminal behaviour".

The writers argue for spending more time and money on preventative programmes aimed at very young children with behavioural issues, instead of "spending too much money on non-effective programmes at youth prisons".

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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