Youth Now

The Youth Justice Service has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with successive positive inspections and impressive results to prevent young people from offending. The work we do is founded on a commitment to child first youth justice.

 

England and Wales has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the world which means children as young as ten can be sentenced through court into the criminal justice system. In addition the young people in the system are complex, with many barriers to fulfilling their potential and often exploited in numerous ways by adults. 

 There is a growing recognition of these issues but Oldham has led the way in changing our attitude and service to meet these needs. We no longer use the offence as the key behaviour we need to change; instead getting a deeper understanding of the child’s needs and supporting them to positive activities and pathways. The staff are highly skilled and have access to specialist provision including trauma informed consultation, mentoring, sports activities and drama therapy.

 

Our Youth Now pilot has improved our understanding of contextual safeguarding to complement this and make sure we focus on the entirety of a young person’s needs, including education, peer groups, family and neighbourhoods.

 

 In the last twelve months we’ve continued to push forward, continuing our specialist provision for girls and young women through Getting out for Good and beginning to pro-actively tackle the terrible criminal justice outcomes for Black and Asian and other diverse communities. We are also reviewing our restorative justice offer with ambitious plans to build on the strong foundations in place.

 

The pandemic is an additional barrier; for these young people the virus has exacerbated existing inequalities and presented further challenge but the staff teams have worked hard to make sure we maintain our high standards.

 

The results achieved are a testament to the skill and dedication of the team and Positive steps as a whole.

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