Youth Offending Team initiative helps reduce offending

Thursday, 6 June 2013

An initiative which ensures young people, who have committed minor offences, address their poor behaviour but do not receive a criminal record, is helping to reduce levels of offending.

The scheme, commissioned by Newcastle Youth Offending Team, provides specialist early intervention within 48 hours of a child receiving a police Community Resolution.

Community Resolutions (CR) are used by a number of police forces and are given to children aged between 10 and 17, who have committed a minor offence.  The youngsters are made to apologise and to make amends, but do not accumulate a criminal record for what in many cases is just poor behaviour.
 
In many areas a CR is the end of the matter, however Newcastle YOT has set up an innovative supporting process, which means children and their families are visited by skilled case worker within two days of the offence.

During the meeting a case worker will assess the reasons a child offended and whether there are any risk factors, such as: family difficulties, low self esteem, peer pressure or anger management, which may make the young person more likely to get into trouble with the law.

The assessment tool, which is known as Onset, also covers factors such as victim awareness and the team offer one-to-one support, group work and positive interventions to help reduce the likelihood of young people getting into trouble with the police. 

Since this new initiative was launched in April 2012, 181 young people have been through the process, and it is estimated that for those engaging with the service they are 37% less likely to offend.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, Catch22, a forward looking social business, with extensive experience of providing services that help young people in tough situations to turn their lives around, was successful and now employs a dedicated team across Newcastle to run the support initiative. 
 
This new initiative, known as the Newcastle Community Resolution Service, covers the entire city, whereas the YOTs previous range of diversion programmes targeted specific areas.  In addition the service costs around £150,000 less per annum.

Lin Hinnigan, Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board, who recently visited Newcastle YOT, said: “Community Resolutions have proved very successful in providing quicker outcomes for victims, ensuring children face up to their actions and reducing the number of first-time-entrants into the criminal justice system.

'This innovative scheme by Newcastle YOT supports this approach, by helping tackle the root causes of any poor behaviour, which may be related to low self-esteem, peer pressure, or other welfare needs.

'By positively engaging with young people and their families at the outset, we are able to challenge poor attitudes and behaviour, provide positive interventions and ultimately reduce offending.

'Furthermore I am glad to see that an effective third sector organisation like Catch 22, has been commissioned to run this service, and is using its expertise to make a difference.'  

Newcastle Youth Offending Team Manager, Paul Brownlee, said:

'Our approach to addressing young peoples’ behaviour, meeting the needs of victims and supporting the police to reduce offending is paying dividends.

'The Community Resolution scheme has proven its worth in Newcastle and we are now working with other YOTs to embed the model across the Northumbria police force area.'

Joanne Lockey, Project Co-ordinator, Catch22 Early Intervention and Restorative Justice in Newcastle said:

'The service provides an important opportunity for young people to see the full consequences of their actions, and is having real impact across the city. We know that early intervention and prevention services are cost-effective and essential.

'It is better for children and young people, for families and communities and for taxpayers to identify problems early and intervene effectively.

'Through one-to-one work the young people we work with look at how their behaviour has affected the victims and start to see things from their point of view. Our approach increases their understanding and empathy for others, and makes them less likely to re-offend.'

Notes to editors

About Youth Justice Board 

  1. The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales. We work to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people under the age of 18, and to ensure that custody for them is safe, secure, and addresses the causes of their offending behaviour.
  2. Specifically, we advise the Secretary of State for Justice on the operation of, and standards for, the youth justice system; monitor the performance of the youth justice system; purchase places for, and place, children and young people remanded or sentenced to custody; identify and promote effective practice; make grants to local authorities or other bodies to support the development of effective practice; commission research and publish information.

For media enquiries contact Henry Killworth by email or on 0203 334 6044. 

About Catch22

  • A forward looking social business, Catch22 has over two hundred years’ experience of providing services that help people in tough situations to turn their lives around.
  • Our programmes help those we work with to steer clear of crime or substance misuse, do the best they can in school or college and develop skills for work, live independently on leaving care or custody, gain new skills and confidence as parents, and play a full part in their community.
  • In 2011/12 we worked directly with 34,000 young people, families and adult offenders in 150 localities, supporting a further 49,000 young people through national partnership programmes.  
  • Asked what difference we had made in 2011/12, nearly 93% of the people we supported who responded said they now had hope for the future, 86% had gained in confidence and felt they had more control over their lives, and 83% had achieved more than they expected.
  • For more information visit www.catch-22.org.uk.
For media enquiries contact Anastasia Batiuk

Tel: 020 3544 4969  Out of hours: 07881 784 062
Ministry of Justice

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