News Item

May 2020

Crossover Youth Scoping Study finds more in-depth research needed to identify better prevention and intervention strategies

The Crossover Youth Scoping Study recently released by the Henwood Trust recommends undertaking a larger research project using statistics from the government’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), a database containing statistics from across all New Zealand government agencies. This would add previously unknown information about crossover youth and contribute to long term strategies at community level.

Crossover youth are those young people aged 14 to 17 years in the youth justice system involved in serious and recidivist offending who also have a current and / or historical connection with the state care and protection system.

The study proposes further action, jointly led with Maori – most of the crossover youth are Maori and a more in-depth understanding of this group is needed. By gathering nationally collected data and investing in communities to collect and interpret their own data, solutions will emerge.

While New Zealand has, to some degree, already had a much better understanding of its crossover youth, the proportion in the youth justice system remains stubbornly high and for many leads to continued involvement in the criminal justice system as adults.

This raised a key concern and question for the Henwood Trust’s research: “If our traditional responses to crossover youth are not effective, what can we do differently, and how might we go about that?”

The report draws on research and data from New Zealand, Australia and the USA. Stories and comment included from New York City, where the number of youth in secure care has plummeted in recent years, added insight into the research needed to enable innovations in communities.

It is clear that across New Zealand there are individuals and organisations highly skilled in bringing together research and data science – people who are well able to take this study further.

Research report: Crossover Youth Scoping Study – PDF, 63 pages

The Law Foundation supported this scoping project in a co-funding arrangement with the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation – both Foundations contributed $23,000 each towards this research.