Press release

Activities and places to go would stop young people breaking law

More local activities and places to go would stop children and young people from breaking the law.

This was the message from 187 children and young people who are either living in care or in a secure training centre when asked for their views on keeping out of trouble by Roger Morgan, the Children’s Rights Director for England.

The report Keeping out of trouble, published today, summarises the discussions held with children and young people on what the worst kinds of trouble are and how to avoid getting into them.

Commenting on the report, Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan said:

Altogether, we held nine discussion groups on the subject of keeping out of trouble. As always we asked open questions for discussion and did not suggest any answers. From the 187 children we asked in care and secure training centres, they felt the worst sort of crimes were those that involved harming people.

When asked what would stop children and young people from breaking the law the single most popular response was more activities for young people to do to keep them occupied – including having even part time work to do.

The young people in secure training centres cited ‘murder’ as the worst kind of trouble any young person could get into, followed by other criminal offences, drink, drugs and smoking, getting involved with gangs and getting into debt. Children in care also regarded ‘murder’ as the worst sort of trouble to get into followed by stealing, taking drugs and violence. Some wrote that they thought the use of cannabis should not be against the law, but others thought all use of drugs should be made illegal. The children in care added that getting pregnant was also a serious kind of trouble.

When asked what would stop children and young people from breaking the law the three top responses were more local activities and places to go, jobs for young people and government help for young people. One young person said “if we had better things to do we wouldn’t get into trouble”. Another said better local facilities and sports events at weekends, and at night would make a big difference, especially when “kids get kicked out of school to stop them getting bored and hanging around with the wrong types.”

The children and young people were also asked what led people their age to break the law. There was a lot of agreement that the main factors were peer pressure, not having any money, boredom and progressing from being involved on the edges of crime into becoming fully involved. An example of this was helping friends who were committing a theft by acting as a look out.

Notes to editors

  1. The report Keeping out of trouble is published online

  2. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

  3. The Office of the Children’s Rights Director is currently hosted by Ofsted, but by statute works independently to ascertain and report the views of children in care, receiving social care services, or living away from home in residential education. It also advises on children’s righs and welfare, and carries out individual casework with children within the Children’s Rights Director’s remit.

  4. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 03000 130415 or via Ofsted’s enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359.