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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Preventing your child from getting involved in crime

In order to prevent your child getting into trouble with the law, it’s important to understand the reasons why most young people offend in the first place.

What makes a child offend?

A young person's parents are their most important role model

There are many reasons why a child may turn to crime, but the most common ones are:

  • lack of education and playing truant
  • poor family relationships
  • peer pressure (having friends who commit crime)
  • having family members who commit crime
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • mental health issues like attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder

Perhaps the most important thing to remember, is that a young person’s parents are the first and most important role models they will have in their life. If a child’s parents set good examples of behaviour and respect others then they are much more likely to do the same.

Other role models

It is not just parents who can set a good example. Children and young people are also influenced by anyone else they feel a connection with. So people like teachers, other family members like uncles, aunts or grandparents, and even well-known people in the community can have an effect. Try to identify people with moral values with respect for others, and encourage your child to spend time with them and be like them.

After school hours

Research has shown that most crimes committed by young people happen between the hours of 3.00 pm 6.00 pm. Trying to stop your child socialising with friends after school may be difficult, but you should know when they are likely to offend.

Parenting Programmes

Practical help and advice is available to parents whose children are at risk of offending. Parenting programmes offer one-to-one advice and support, and help parents improve their skills in dealing with problem behaviour. If you are interested in attending a parenting programme, contact your local council.

If your child is at risk of offending, your local Youth Offending Team may suggest you attend a parenting programme. If you refuse, then they may enforce your attendance through a Parenting Order.

What is a Parenting Order?

If you are subject to a Parenting Order, you may have to attend counselling or a parenting programme for up to three months.

A parent or carer can be prosecuted for failing to meet the conditions of a Parenting Order.

See 'What can happen to you if your child gets into trouble' for more information about Parenting Orders.


A mentor is a volunteer whose role is to motivate and support a young person at risk of offending. Mentors build a relationship on trust and confidentiality with young people over a long period of time. Young people are also encouraged to see their mentor as an equal. Over time, mentors can help young people achieve social or educational goals they have set together, and reduce the risk of offending.

For more information about mentors, contact your local council.

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