Scotland’s poorest the ‘most likely’ to be victims of crime

Professor Lesley McAra

Scotland’s poorest people are more likely to be victims of crime while the clear-up rates of police have not helped the worst hit areas of the country according to two new studies.

The University of Edinburgh studies suggest the criminal justice system in Scotland inadvertently punishes the poor and prevents them from escaping hardship.

A second study by the University showed areas with chronic rates of crime had not benefited from a recent decline in crime rates.

The first study linked extreme poverty to both those who commit crimes and the victims of them.

Its findings came from the “Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime” by the University’s law school and the second from the same department.

Both are published in the latest edition of the Scottish Justice Matters journal

Report author Professor Lesley McAra said: “Our findings highlight a very destructive dynamic – poverty increases the risks of violence.

“Contact with juvenile justice system increases the risks associated with poverty.

“As a result, contact with the very agencies meant to stop offending is inadvertently reproducing the conditions in which violence can flourish.”

In the youth study it was found that household poverty exacerbated the probability of young people offending.

In addition, they are five times more likely to be put on statutory supervision as compared with their more affluent counterparts.

Girls from poor backgrounds are two times more likely than girls from well-off backgrounds to be involved in violent crime according to the authors.

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