Investing in Barnsley’s children and their families helps keep them out of criminal justice system

Barnsley Council’s Targeted Youth Support Service has been working with the police to develop a process to reduce the number of first time entrants into the Criminal Justice system.

An out of court disposal (OOCD) is a way of dealing with a crime or an offence that does not require prosecution at court. These are predominately young people who have committed their first offence and admitted what they have done.

The aim is to divert young people from their offending behaviour, encouraging them to face up to the impact of their behaviour and to take responsibility for the outcomes.

Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding) said: “This is not a soft option for those children, our Youth Offending team is carrying out effective work to make it less likely that children offend again, and to enable them to change their lives for the better and achieve their potential.”

OOCDs are available to children and young people aged 10-17.

A TYS worker will visit the young person and their parent/carer at home and complete an assessment. This assessment analyses the young person’s education, family life, peers and lifestyle. The outcome of this determines the risk of re-offending. The young person will then complete the appropriate disposal based on their risk of re-offending. In Barnsley we offer the Diversion programme to reduce the number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time. Examples of interventions that would be completed include:

  • Victims and Consequences work, handling conflict, peer pressure
  • Supporting parents
  • Ensuring that they are in School or College/training

If the assessment determines there risk may be higher we would use a Youth conditional caution. This is an enforceable intervention where the Young person has to sign and agree to the recommended conditions, for example diversion methods such as – non association or curfews. Interventions are delivered over 12 weeks and the conditions are monitored. Non-compliance can result in a young person being sent back to court.

Success relies on the strength of the service’s assessment and supporting young people and families to make changes which result in positive outcomes.

The Youth Offending Team, which is part of the council’s Targeted Youth Support Service, team will work with these children and other services such as CAMHS, Early Help, family mediation and schools. They will also look for any undiagnosed learning needs the child may have. It’s about engaging young people to intervene as early as possible to give them the support they need.

Cllr Bruff added: “We get a lot of compliments from service users. Parenting support is a big part of the work and we are helping to bring families together.”

More information about the council’s Targeted Youth Support Service is available at www.barnsley.gov.uk

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