Lieutenancy & University of Northampton

Youth justice – another county success story

Seven years ago, the Northamptonshire Magistracy started looking at ways to better support the children and young people who appeared before their youth courts. During the years that followed the Magistracy has been innovating and acting as a national model of excellence with three major initiatives, the third one just about to launch – its Youth Court Solutions project. Research into ACEs (Adverse Childhood

Experiences) suggest that any brush with the criminal justice system, which constitutes an ACE, results in approximately 70% of child victims going on to become adult off enders. Youth Court Solutions is designed to tackle these issues as early as possible, whenever a child or young person comes into contact with the courts, in whatever capacity.

Step 1: Youth Review Panel - a post-court review Judges and Magistrates take a lot of care to ensure the sentences they pass are right and appropriate. Sentences are designed to address the off ending, while having full regard to the welfare of the child. T e Northamptonshire Magistracy considered ways that they could

inspire, motivate and support the child and young people while under a court order. Starting with letters of congratulation when orders were revoked early due to excellent progress, the idea of off ering support throughout the duration of the court order was next. A new and innovative Youth Review Panel was born. Specially

trained magistrates attend the panels as guests of the Youth Off ending Service, with no formal power, but the opportunity for the child, young person and family members to meet the magistrates is seen by them as very signifi cant.

Step 2: Problem Solving Hearing - in-court coordination In 2014, a major inquiry documented how the various agencies that support a court order were too often working at odds with each other. The Northants Magistracy considered how the court sentencing hearing could engage the broad range of professionals needed in really complex cases, and a Problem Solving Hearing was initiated, with all professionals having responsibility for any element of the court order requested to attend. In court, each professional is engaged by the presiding justice to

declare what they propose to do and how they intend to deliver. To support understanding, the presiding justice will ensure there is clarity on behalf of all attending professionals, the child or young person and their family.

Step 3: Youth Court Solutions – a new at-court service and support Which brings us up to date and the launching of the third wave of the Magistracy’s problem-solving approach. T e vast majority of children and young people who off end are often living with other diffi culties far outside their own control. Most have also been victims of crime or some


Dominic SR Goble JP DL

other kind of abuse before fi nding themselves before the court for their own wrongdoing. Likewise, often the other children or young people involved as either victims, witnesses or even as the siblings of those involved, are also living with tremendous diffi culties badly infl uencing their lives and restricting their opportunities in life. Youth Court Solutions will

launch in pilot

form this autumn and will operate in the public area of the Wellingborough court and will involve access to a range of charities, coordinated by the Crysalys Foundation, working in conjunction with the Youth Off ending Service, police and the legal profession, and enjoying the support of the Lieutenancy; the High Sheriff ; the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner; and the University. It will off er the child the prospect of a life free

from the impact of crime, whether as a witness, victim or perpetrator. It will ensure that all young visitors have access to a wide range of help which includes: -

justice system - Support services to address the issues which bring children and young people to court - Practical support with fi nancial issues, debt and accommodation -

Introductions to learning and training opportunities

As the project develops, it will be keen to engage businesses willing to off er company visits, work experience, training, apprenticeships, jobs and mentoring to give young people the opportunity for a meaningful career and worthwhile life.

If you would like to support this initiative email


Information on the working of the criminal

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