Where We Stand On…

Age of criminal responsibility
We believe the age of criminal responsibility at 10 years of age is too low and should be raised to at least 12.
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders

That such orders are necessary as a last resort for dealing with anti social behaviour (ASB). We support the use of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts as an effective way of dealing with ASB by young people which do not require court appearances/convictions.

Custody for children* and young people

That the punishment of custody for children* and young people lies in the loss of liberty itself and therefore should only be used:

· As a last resort

· Where the public have to be protected

Where young people have to be sent to custody they should be held in small local secure units close to their home.

Equality and Diversity
We believe that children* and young people have the right to have equal access to all appropriate services within the youth justice system and must not be excluded on the grounds of age, gender, disability, ethnic background, skin colour, language, faith, health, social and economic backgrounds, sexuality or other prejudice.

Prevention of youth crime
Work to prevent children* and young people from offending for the first time should be prioritised to prevent them entering the youth justice system and the cost of this to both young people themselves and society.

Restorative Approaches
We fully support restorative approaches and are committed to them being embedded in youth justice. These enable children* and young people to accept responsibility for their choices and actions, to reflect on how they interact together and find positive ways forward to prevent harm and conflict

YOTs are committed to the welfare of the victims of crime; and will take their needs and perspectives into account when working with young people who have offended and/or committed anti-social behaviour. For example, YOTs will make contact with the victims of children* and young people who have offended to seek out victim(s)’ comment on their experience(s) and future interventions. The YOTs will work with these young people to encourage change in their attitudes/future behaviour towards known victims and to prevent further victimisation.

Children and young people spent convictions
Children and young people moving into adulthood and beyond should not be penalised for having to declare all but the most serious convictions committed as a youth.
Youth Justice work
Should be undertaken by dedicated and specialist youth justice workers led by senior managers with substantial youth justice experience positioned at a senior level within local structures.
*=Those aged under 18