Alan was glad they had met up before they went off to the pub on the other side of the ring road. They all knew that it had a dodgy reputation but they'd agreed to try some of the real ale they brewed on the premises. They were almost within reach of "Foxy Fallon's" when they noticed a group coming out of a side-street, obviously heading towards the very same isolated dimly-lit pub surrounded by open space for the local park-and-ride scheme. You could almost feel each group stiffen as they saw each other. In the distance a police car cruised past unconcerned. They headed on towards the light but slowly enough to let the locals arrive first. As they went in they realised it was quiz night and the other group had merged into a very mixed and noisy atmosphere.
They signed up for the quiz and bought a few drinks and cigarettes. Alan kept away from the bar because he was only just 15. He let his older sister Paula get his and sign them in for the quiz. Paula was 16 and looked a lot older. She flirted with the barman as she picked up the pen and quiz sheet and then came back to the table. In the quiz they were lucky, all the questions seemed easy and yet they were totally surprised when their team won. The prize was a large jug of their famous home-brewed beer and the team celebrated their victory with renewed thirst and great noise. Paula went to the loo and came back with a worried look on her face. She told them that the group they saw on the way in was their local quiz team, and they usually won. One of the girls from that group had just told her, in no uncertain terms, that they would never get back across the ring road in one piece.
An hour later they stumbled out into the night, more sober and serious than they expected. They were frightened, and any bravado they felt evaporated in the fresh air. The gang was nowhere to be seen. Their eyes hunted the shadows for signs of attack. All the horror stories they heard on the news came back in too much detail. The chimes of the parish clock reverberated in the darkness as they crept towards the bridge over the ring road. As the empty neon-lit bridge got closer they began to believe they would avoid trouble. When they got to the other side Alan was dripping with sweat and shaking; though he said nothing to the others. Paula noticed though and realised that he wasnt quite as old or tough as he looked. She would remember that frightened-child look on his face for a long time.
One in four males (16-24) have been victims of violent crime
41% of violent youth crime involves family or friends
Police cautions are falling for 10-17 year olds but rising for 18-20 year old males
44% of 15-year-old boys drink alcohol at least once a week
In 1993 the average weekly intake for 16 year old males was 9 units in 1999 almost 15 units
Today 25% of 16 year old girls smoke. This percentage has stayed the same since 1990.
Source: Key Data on Adolescence Coleman 1999