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A youthful offender is a person under the age of 18 years who has been accused of committing a delinquent or criminal offense and is being processed through the juvenile justice system. The types of offenses can range from status offenses—those acts deemed illegal based on the age of the offender, including running away from home or underage drinking—to violent criminal acts including rape, aggravated assault, or homicide. The developmental stage of the youth as well as certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of a child or adolescent becoming a youthful offender. This entry briefly addresses the types of crimes committed by children across developmental stages (child, preteen, and teen) and describes corresponding risk factors (individual, family, and peer or community) that can impact ...

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