The Youth Justice Board oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales. They work to prevent children and young people under 18 from offending or re-offending. The Chair of the Youth Justice Board is responsible for the reviewing of the Youth Justice Board’s strategic direction.

Meeting Date: 23 January 2017

Matters Discussed:

Child Victims and the Link to Future Offending

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) Chair set out that the organisation was undertaking work with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on the reform to the youth justice system following the government’s response to Charlie Taylor’s review of youth justice.

The YJB recognised that those young people, who have been victimised at an earlier age, are more likely to go on to offend. In order to address the trauma associated with this victimisation and, consequently, to reduce reoffending and further victims, the YJB has set up a programme of work to raise the profile of this issue. The YJB and their partners have produced a Statement of Intent[1] to this end.

The Victims Commissioner (VC) set out her desire to achieve procedural justice for all victims, in particular child victims. It was essential that victims in the formative stages of their life viewed the criminal justice system in a positive light – as something that was there to protect them. It was essential that the authorities made young victims feel confident in coming forward, by showing that they were believed and committed to bringing perpetrators to justice.

It was agreed that one of the concerns in respect of young victims and offenders with a history of victimisation was the limited provision of facilities for support through therapeutic approaches, both in the community and in custodial settings. The YJB was working closely with NHS England who were introducing therapeutic environments into the youth secure estate.

It was agreed that the YJB and the VC’s Office would remain in touch on the issue of victimisation and its link to offending.

Children’s Houses

The VC and YJB Chair were keen to monitor progress with the Children’s Houses pilots in London, possibly looking to visit the houses in the near future.

Section 28 Roll-out and Registered Intermediaries

The VC and YJB Chair were interested to see how the section 28 roll-out progresses. The VC has undertaken to review it once the roll-out is complete. She was also planning to review the impact of the shortage of Registered Intermediaries.

Joint Working

The VC’s Office and YJB officials agreed to meet to consider whether the work identified above might be undertaken jointly. The meeting would also be a useful opportunity to discuss and share good practice. In particular, the VC’s Office was hoping to set up a Community of Practice and would be interested in hearing about the effective practice approach established by the YJB.  

Victims’ Commissioner’s Decency Pledge

The VC is planning a “victim awareness campaign” across all criminal justice agencies, increasing the awareness of staff of the needs of victims and encouraging them to view the system through the eyes of victims. The campaign would need input from all agencies. She welcomed the support of the YJB.