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Offenders think again

School-age serial offenders in the north-east are often drug users who have experienced death in the family or some kind of serious loss or rejection.

A Barnardo's project in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is claiming remarkable success with a group of 33 who have persistently run into trouble.

Offending rates have been cut by nearly 70 per cent and young people themselves say they valued the victim awareness sessions.

The New Directions team carries out an eight-week assessment and, along with partner agencies, draws up an action plan. Sixteen different programmes address different forms of offending over an average period of 17 months.

Over the five years of the project, young people with offences involving violence, aggression and theft have responded best. Those charged with breach of the peace, vandalism and traffic offences do least well.

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