Children’s Experiences of Crime in Britain Survey
The Children’s Experiences in Crime Survey is the most comprehensive Britain-wide survey of children’s offending and victimisation. The study will deepen our understanding of the extent and context of children’s involvement with offending and antisocial behaviour, in both the offline and online domains.
Collecting data in 2022, it will be the first such national self-report survey for seven years – providing policymakers, practitioners and the public with a vital insight into antisocial behaviour in contemporary Britain, including cyber-bullying and lockdown non-compliance.
The study will contribute data to the International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD4), which will allow comparisons with more than 30 other countries around the world. The study will also be able to directly compare the current generation’s self-reported offline offending with levels observed in the previous survey in England/Scotland in 2014/15.
The study will:
- Provide a comprehensive profile of children’s offending and victimisation in contemporary Britain, both offline and online
- Measure the overlaps between offline and online experiences of crime
- Measure the overlaps between victimisation experiences and offending behaviour
- Study the correlations between online offending/victimisation and other characteristics and experiences (including structural factors)
- Compare current patterns of offline offending/victimisation with those reported by British children in 2014/15
- Compare the experience of British children with more than 30 other countries
- Inform policymakers, practitioners and the public about youth offending/victimisation, leading to improvements and constructive responses in interventions with young people.
The study consists of two main stages:
- An international review (Rapid Evidence Assessment) of research/practice on the overlaps between youth offending and victimisation, and between online and offline offending behaviour.
- A Britain-wide empirical survey of youth offending/victimisation, covering both online and offline domains.
The survey will recruit 4500 children aged 13-17 years old, drawn from two separate samples via: a) educational institutions, and b) the internet. Data will be analysed anonymously in 2022.
The educational sample (n2700) will involve 1800 children from two large urban areas (one in England and one in Scotland), and a further 900 children from several rural counties (including in Wales). Children will be sampled by year 9-12 classes, randomly selected from schools, pupil referral units and colleges in each area, with the questionnaire conducted online while in school. The internet sample will involve a further 1800 children (aged 16-17yrs) completing a shorter questionnaire.
The full questionnaire captures more than 500 variables covering children’s background, experiences, beliefs, activities, and contact with the police. It captures children’s involvement as victims and offenders in a range of online and offline behaviours, including those highlighted by the Covid-19 lockdown. It is also designed to help understand the power and structural contexts for behaviours and victimisation, including questions on inequalities and disempowerment.
Timescale and outputs the research
The research project runs for 36 months from January 2021 to December 2023, with the international review published in 2022 and the survey results reported from 2023 onwards.
Outputs will include: a report on implications for prevention and intervention; summaries for policymakers, practitioners, schoolchildren, parents and FE/HE students; audio and video podcasts; infographics; and academic conference papers and articles. Beyond the end of the project, the research team will continue to work with policymakers and practitioners to inform how we can best ensure positive outcomes for children involved in online and offline offending/victimisation.
Professor Neal Hazel, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Salford will lead the project. He says: “This is an incredibly important piece of research which will inform policymakers, practitioners and the public about youth offending and victimisation. We hope it will help ensure positive outcomes for children who have been involved in and/or found themselves victims of offending.”
Project Team: Professor Neal Hazel, Professor Christopher Birkbeck, Dr Louis Bailey
Research Group: Centre for Social and Health Research, Connected Lives Diverse Realities, Criminal Justice
Project Funder: The Nuffield Foundation