Since 1999, large representative random samples of ninth graders (age 15-16) in the Canton Zurich have been surveyed about their experiences as victims and perpetrators at intervals of 7 to 8 years according to a standardized protocol. These four Zurich Youth Surveys (ZYS) on the “dark figure” of crime and violence provide unique insights beyond official crime statistics and allow to examine long-term trends in violence, delinquency, substance use and other problem behaviour among young people and to determine possible causes for trend reversals.
The latest ZYS 2021 shows that overall rates of violence among young people are increasing again, after significantly decreasing trends were observed between the two previous surveys in 2007 and 2014. The increase relates in particular to all types of sexual offenses, robbery and extortion, and school bullying.
In this lecture we will first introduce the survey methodology and the samples used in the ZYS and then examine how different types of violent victimisation and their contexts have evolved since 1999. Shifting to the perpetrator perspective we will look at long-term trends of violent and non-violent delinquency, and of substance use. In trying to understand the latest increases of violent delinquency, we will also analyze shifts in selected risk factors of violent and delinquent behaviour.
Given the consistent increase in sexual victimisation, we finally examine how different aspects of youths’ sexuality and partnership and related attitudes have evolved in the last years.
The talk will also be held on Zoom.