Self-harm by young people in custody
The main facts and figures show that:
- in 2016/17, the rate of self-harm by White young people in custody was just under 3 times that of young people from all other ethnic groups combined
- there were 12.8 incidents of self-harm per 100 White young people in custody per month, compared with 4.4 incidents of self-harm per 100 young people in custody from all other ethnic groups combined
Things you need to know
The data records the number of occasions on which an act of self-harm was reported, not the number of individuals that self-harmed, nor how often individual young people harmed themselves.
Estimates based on a larger number of people are generally more reliable. The larger number of young people in custody from the White ethnic group means that estimates for this group is more reliable than estimates for all other ethnic groups.
What the data measures
This data measures rates of self-harm by young people in custody, broken down by ethnicity. Each incident of self-harm by a young person in custody is counted and their ethnicity recorded. Rates are expressed per 100 young people in custody per month (on average across the financial year) from 2010/11 to 2016/17.
Self-harm in this data is defined as any act where a young person deliberately harms themselves, regardless of how they do so, what their intent is, or how badly they injure themselves.
'Young people’ are aged between 10 and 17 years. The data may also include some 18 year olds.
The data includes young people held in:
- young offender institutions
- secure children’s homes
- secure training centres
The ethnic categories used in this data
The number of young people in custody involved in incidents of self-harm was too small to draw any firm conclusions based on specific ethnic categories. Therefore, the data is broken down into the following 2 broad categories:
- White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other – all other ethnic minorities
Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected
Incidents of self-harm by young people in custody by ethnicity
This data shows that:
- in 2016/17, there were 12.8 incidents of self-harm per 100 White young people in custody per month on average
- there were 4.4 incidents of self-harm per 100 young people in custody from all other ethnic groups combined
Incidents of self-harm by young people in custody by ethnicity over time
This data shows that:
- between 2010/11 and 2016/17, the rate of self-harm in custody has been consistently higher for White young people than for those from all other ethnic groups combined
Self-harm is measured as the rate per 100 prisoners (taken from prison population monthly snapshots at the beginning of each month, including new admissions, averaged across a 12-month period).
The data is reviewed, but as with all large administrative surveys errors and omissions can occur.
Rates per 100 young people in custody are rounded to 1 decimal place.
Youth justice statistics since 2008/09
Quality and methodology information
Youth Justice Statistics Supplementary Tables 8.11
Type of data
Type of statistic
Ministry of Justice
Purpose of data source
Figures shown here are derived from administrative data used for internal management information.