Balancing Rights and Risks: How Can We Get It Right For Children Involved In Violent Behaviour?

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Official data suggests that the number of children involved in offending has reduced significantly over the past ten years throughout the United Kingdom (Bateman, 2015; Youth Justice Improvement Board, 2017). Despite this reduction, there is a small, but substantial, percentage of children who present a risk of serious harm to others. To date there has been little examination of the nature and prevalence of the violent behaviour children engage in within Scotland. However, regular access to this type of information is crucial for both service planning and monitoring of the effectiveness of efforts to reduce violence. Similarly, it is essential that the needs underlying children’s violent behaviour are understood if appropriate interventions are to be provided and future harm is to be prevented. Emerging research clearly demonstrates the complex needs with which a number of these children present (McAra, Goldson, Hughes, & McVie, 2010; Youth Justice Improvement Board, 2017); however, our understanding of how well their needs are being met and how well the risks they present to others are being managed remains unclear. In order to contribute to the limited knowledge base this study examined the case files for a sample of 63 children referred to the Intervention for Vulnerable Youth (IVY) project due to concern over their risk of serious harm to others. Additionally, 23 practitioner responses to a survey regarding risk practice were examined.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • youth crime
  • young offenders
  • violent crime
  • criminal justice
  • youth justice
  • violent offenders


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