One in five suspects is a child, data shows

The boy died at Gosford Hospital following what police said was a pre-arranged fight on social media.

Police at the scene of the fatal attack on a 13-year-old boy in Kariong in January.Credit:Nine News

Another 13-year-old, who allegedly knew the deceased boy, has been charged with murder.

Neither boy can be named for legal reasons.

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Young men’s tendency to carry knives is inherently dangerous, said Bond University detective-turned-criminologist Dr Terry Goldsworth.

“We know that the male brain doesn’t develop until about age 30, so the frontal lobe isn’t fully developed,” he said. “That in conjunction with a lethal weapon – there is a recipe for disaster

Young people often carried knives for protection, Goldsworth said, asking what they needed to protect themselves from.

“It shows that these people are willing to engage in harmful and risky behaviors and don’t consider the long-term consequences,” he said. “They want to walk around with a gun. It shows a certain mindset – either you’re going to commit an offense or you’re going to meet people who will.

Friends bid farewell to Uati

Friends bid farewell to Uati “Pele” Faletolu on Tuesday night in Doonside.Credit:instagram

Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson, who holds a doctorate in psychology, said multiple factors can lead teens and young men to violent crime.

“The first is parental involvement and structure,” he said. “We find that when parents are engaged, these children tend not to have this type of problem. When parents are less involved, they look elsewhere for support and will often find it in peer groups that don’t always have the best intentions.

The glorification of violence on social media has also contributed to young people’s attraction to violence, Coulson said.

Cultural expectations within certain ethnic and racial groups were another.

“Some groups of young boys have this idea that they have to do what they can to preserve their family group, the idea that ‘you are my brother, I will bleed for you,'” he said.

“The influence of male culture…is another [factor],” he said. “Even though parts of society have drifted away from Neanderthal beliefs, in the proportion involved in gangs [these beliefs] are firmly rooted.

The NSW Police Youth Command works with community groups and other government organizations to intervene with young people at risk of criminal behavior, Acting Superintendent Carlene Mahoney said.

“We know that the key to lasting change is working with young people at risk and involving them to ensure they make good decisions – diverting them from criminal activity.”

Manly Sea Eagles player Josh Aloaia commented on Faletolu’s death on Instagram last week, telling his followers that “your postcode and suburb don’t care about you”.

“This must stop… Islanders assault and kill other islanders in the streets. Often children. Our own people! Where have we lost our identity?“.

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