Children who offend give their views

Sean Creaney
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gareth Jones, chair of The Association of Youth Offending Team Managers Managers recently informed Charlie Taylor (the man leading the youth justice review) that children should have a stronger voice in the youth justice system.

This comment has been further strengthened by children and young people in a fascinating report published recently by Clinks in collaboration with Peer Power and Beyond Youth Custody.

The report details how young people feel they are not being heard. Throughout all the stages of the youth justice system they feel it is a disempowering experience: "We are not listened to; the majority don't want to listen," one young person said.

Crucially, it was recommended in the report that there needs to be a stronger commitment to listen to children and act upon their views and experiences. The authors of the report also note how there needs to better information provided to young people and protocols established – especially regarding children's rights and entitlements. Children also need to be empowered or at the very least have opportunities to challenge official decisions that are made about them, the authors argue.

Other important points were also highlighted in the report such as the importance of caring, trusting relationships, and youth offending team workers who understand, and are non-judgmental.

The theme of this report to me seemed to be rooted in a children first approach, built on the resilience and desistance literature, not too dissimilar to what Standing Committee for Youth Justice and The Association of Directors of Children’s Services advocate in their recent submissions.

At the National Association for Youth Justice national seminar today in London Charlie Taylor is the keynote speaker. I will be posting Tweets @Sfcreaney throughout the day about what is said regarding the review of youth justice.

Sean Creaney is an adviser at social justice charity Peer Power

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