Chapter

Young people and violence: balancing public protection with meeting needs

Gwyneth Boswell

in Young people and 'risk'

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9781847420008
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304364 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420008.003.0004
Young people and violence: balancing public protection with meeting needs

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In recent years, there have been political talks on the need to rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of the victims of crime. This ethos was reflected in the White Paper Justice for all and in the 2003 Criminal Justice Act which introduced new, lengthy custodial sentences for the express purpose of public protection. These new sentences that extend the custodial sentences can be applied to both adults and juveniles. While the desirability of the protection of potential victims from serious harm is not a matter of debate, the contextual assumption that harsher sentences on offenders will bring greater benefits for the victims and the wider community posits a big question. This chapter addresses the doubts and questions attached to the assumed effectiveness of harsher and tougher sentences in safeguarding the needs of the victims and the community. In doing so, the chapter first examines the characteristics young victims; second, it investigates the characteristics of the young people who offend violently; third, it examines the link and connection between young victims and young offenders; and finally, it examines the implications for balancing the protection of victims and potential victims with the proper and appropriate means of reducing ‘dangerousness’ of young offenders and perpetrators.

Keywords: criminal justice system; victims of crime; public protection; harsher sentences; young victims; young offenders; protection of victims; reducing dangerousness

Chapter.  6159 words. 

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