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Youth offending service

How the youth offending team works together with young people and their families to prevent crime.

Last updated: 27 January 2023

Our Youth Offending Service (YOS) is a team made up of professionals from different organisations such as:

  • police officers
  • youth justice officers
  • family and opportunity development workers
  • social workers
  • probation officers
  • health and education specialists

They work with young people that have come into contact with the police or courts through criminal or gang activity to prevent crime and reduce future offences.

They also look into the background of a young person and try to help them stay away from crime by working with the young person and their family. This includes group work programmes and one-to-one sessions.

The young people they work with will be:

  • on triage
  • on cautions
  • subject to court orders
  • on bail
  • in custody

By tackling the attitudes and behaviour of young people who commit offences, YOS can provide better support and alternative paths.

They can also:

  • help victims of youth crime and make sure their needs and wishes are taken into account
  • keep young people safe from crime, gangs and whilst on the street
  • divert young people from the criminal justice system
  • reduce future offending by working with young people to improve their health, literacy, self-esteem and employability

YOS's approach

They use the following approaches:

Family support

Families can be significantly affected by their child’s offending behaviour. They, therefore, provide support to families which includes guidance and practical techniques such as:

  • Access to parenting programmes such as Triple P Parenting Programme and Strengthening Families, Strengthening communities. Get more information about parenting programmes.
  • Access to Functional Family Therapy (FFT).

Restorative justice

They are committed to a restorative justice (RJ) approach, which helps young people to face up to what they have done, take responsibility, and make amends to the victim or to the wider community. The approach can involve mediation, where the young person meets with the victim in a safe environment, which can have very positive results for both the victim and the young person.

Triage

The Triage scheme reduces low profile offending. It diverts young people that commit low level offences away from the criminal justice system into effective interventions to reduce re-offending.

Pre sentencing and sentence reports

When required, YOS will provide youth courts and crown courts with pre-sentence reports and specific sentence reports to assist in sentencing. This assessment of the young offender will be in line with national standards.

Community sentences

They provide support for community based disposals. The team:

  • provide supervision of young people
  • work with parents and carers of young people as and when appropriate
  • ensure that a variety of resources are available for such sentences

Custodial sentences

YOS offer support to young people during their sentences and provides supervision after their release. Whilst in custody, they will be visited by their YOS worker and will attend planning meetings to discuss what will happen when in custody and also when released. When leaving custody, young people will have regular meetings with their YOS workers to ensure they successfully rejoin the community.

Gangs

‘Enough is Enough’ is our innovative gangs programme, set up to address gang activity. The programme supports young people and their families who are:

  • at risk of exploitation from gangs, this also includes child sexual exploitation
  • affiliated to a gang
  • have been a victim of gangs

Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint or provide feedback on the services we provide please go to our complaints page.