Assaults by young people in custody

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in the year ending March 2019, there were 26.2 assaults per month for every 100 White young people in young offender institutions
  • the rate in secure training centres and secure children's homes was 70.3 assaults per month per 100 White young people
  • there were 37.1 assaults per month per 100 young people from all other ethnic groups combined in young offender institutions
  • the rate in secure training centres and secure children's homes was 77.2 assaults per month
  • in the 8 years to March 2019, the rate of assaults in secure training centres and secure children’s homes more than tripled for both White young people and people from all other ethnic groups
Things you need to know

The latest data on this page uses a new way of counting assaults in young offender institutions (YOIs). The way of counting assaults in secure training centres and secure children's homes (STCs and SCHs) has not changed from previous years.

Assault figures used to be based on monthly data submitted by YOIs. For the year ending March 2019, they have been taken from a centralised incident reporting system. For STCs and SCHs, assaults are still based on monthly data submitted by the institutions.

The figures are also based on new counting rules from the HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) which include fights alongside assaults in YOIs only. Each assault or fight is counted as a single incident, regardless of how many people are involved. Ethnicity is reported based on assailants, therefore figures broken down by ethnicity will not equal the number of incidents but rather the number of assailants involved. For example, there could be 5 assaults or fights, 10 total assailants involved in those 5 assaults or fights, but only 4 unique young people making up the 10 assailants. The data on this page reports the total number of assailants and their ethnicities.

In STCs and SCHs, fights are not included in the number of assaults. Ethnicity is attached to each assailant, but the number of assaults is counted differently to YOIs. In situations where one young person assaults another and the victim strikes back, so long as this is judged not to be purely in self defence, this would be recorded as 2 assaults. For example, if the victim is deemed to be acting in self defence then the incident should be recorded as 1 incident of assault, with 1 assailant. If the victim is deemed not to have been acting in self-defence then 2 incidents of assault should be recorded, with 2 assailants.

Because of the changes to YOI data, you should not compare:

  • data on assaults in YOIs from before and after the changes were made
  • assaults in YOIs with assaults in STCs and SCHs

Figures based on a larger number of people are generally more reliable. There are more White young people in custody, so figures for this group are the most reliable.

The data does not include information about staff or visitors who may have been victims of assault or otherwise involved.

What the data measures

This data shows rates of assaults carried out by young people in custody, by ethnicity.

The assault rate is the average number of assaults per month for every 100 young people in custody.

'Young people’ are 10 to 17 years old. The data may also include some 18 year olds who remain in youth custody for a short time.

The data includes young people held in:

  • young offenders’ institutions
  • secure children’s homes
  • secure training centres

Data for secure children’s homes and secure training centres has been combined.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The number of young people carrying out assaults was too small to make reliable generalisations about specific ethnic categories.

Because of this, we show data for 2 ethnic groups:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

2. By ethnicity over time (secure children’s homes and secure training centres)

Assaults per 100 young people in secure children’s homes and secure training centres, by ethnicity over time
White Other than White
Time White Rate of incidents per 100 young people in custody per month White Average population in custody White Average number of assaults per month Other than White Rate of incidents per 100 young people in custody per month Other than White Average population in custody Other than White Average number of assaults per month
2011/12 18.4 402.0 74.0 25.2 189.6 47.8
2012/13 19.7 359.2 70.8 18.0 169.6 30.5
2013/14 20.0 347.8 69.4 22.6 163.8 37.1
2014/15 24.0 272.5 65.4 27.9 155.8 43.4
2015/16 26.6 258.8 68.8 31.3 130.3 40.8
2016/17 38.1 209.4 79.8 64.3 103.8 66.8
2017/18 55.8 223.7 124.8 81.6 111.1 90.7
2018/19 70.3 173.0 121.6 77.2 119.5 92.3

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time (secure children’s homes and secure training centres)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time (secure children’s homes and secure training centres)’ (CSV)

Summary of Assaults by young people in custody By ethnicity over time (secure children’s homes and secure training centres) Summary

The data shows that:

  • in the 8 years from April 2011 to March 2019, the average rate of assaults per 100 White young people more than tripled, from 18.4 to 70.3 per month
  • the average rate of assaults per 100 young people from all other ethnic groups combined also tripled, from 25.2 to 77.2 per month
  • in the year ending March 2019, the rate of assaults by White young people in custody reached its highest point in the 8 years covered by this data
  • the rate for young people from all other ethnic groups combined peaked at 81.6 in the year ending March 2018, before going down to 77.2 per month

3. By ethnicity (young offender institutions)

Assaults per 100 young people in young offender institutions, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity Rate of incidents per 100 young people in custody per month Average population in custody Average number of assaults per month
White 26.2 408.9 107.3
Other than White 37.1 410.8 152.6

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (young offender institutions)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (young offender institutions)’ (CSV)

Summary of Assaults by young people in custody By ethnicity (young offender institutions) Summary

The data shows that:

  • on average, there were 26.2 assaults per 100 White young people in custody per month
  • there were 37.1 assaults per 100 young people per month from all other ethnic groups combined

4. Methodology

Young people in custody report their own ethnicity, which staff then record.

The number of young people in custody is counted at the start of each month. Figures also include new admissions during the month, and are then averaged across a 12-month period.

Rounding

Average numbers of assaults, average numbers of young people in custody and rates per 100 have been rounded to 1 decimal point. All calculations have been made using unrounded figures.

See the Youth justice statistics for 2018 to 2019 for unrounded figures and the percentages calculated from them.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Figures published before the release of the 2018 to 2019 youth justice statistics may have been revised since their original publication.

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The data is used by the government to develop, monitor and evaluate criminal justice policy for young offenders in England and Wales.

6. Download the data

Assaults carried out by young people in custody data - Spreadsheet (csv) 2 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, institution, value, numerator, denominator