Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

Youth offending

This page shows information about young people legally proceeded against by NSW Police for criminal behaviour.  In NSW young people are aged between 10 and 17 years, inclusive. The minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10 years and children under 10 years cannot be legally proceeded against.

In NSW young people who offend can be proceeded against to court or they can be diverted from the court system.  The Young Offenders Act 1997 allows young people who meet the eligibility criteria to be dealt with by Youth Justice Conferences, formal caution or formal warning (find out more). 

1.Young people proceeded against by NSW Police

Below we present data showing trends in police proceedings against young people by method of legal proceeding and gender.

2. Age breakdown

Research has consistently indicated a strong relationship between age and offending behaviour. Below we present data looking at the age of young offenders at the time of the offence by method of legal proceeding and gender.

3. Offence breakdown

Certain types of offences (such as graffiti, vandalism, shoplifting and fare evasion) are committed disproportionately by young people. Conversely, very serious offences (such as homicide) are rarely perpetrated by young people. On the whole, young people are more frequently apprehended by police in relation to offences against property than offences against the person. 

The next chart shows the most frequent types of offences that NSW Police proceeded against young people for by method of legal proceeding and gender.

4. Regional breakdown

We next turn to look at regional patterns in youth offending. The map below shows the location of young offenders by method of legal proceeding.