Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different stages of the Youth Justice Process?
The Youth Justice Process begins with active measures dealing with the prevention of crime and, when all other measures have failed, can end with a custodial sentence. The stages are identified below:
- Restorative Justice Disposal (first offence, not serious, admitting guilt)
- Prevention (where young people are showing signs of offending behaviour)
- Cautions (a voluntary or compulsory Caution)
- Referral Order (first official court order)
- Youth Rehabilitation Order
What age range of young people is the YJS working with?
The criminal age of responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years of age and the YOS is working with young people up to the age of 17 across Monmouthshire and Torfaen who have committed an offence and have been referred by the courts or Gwent Police. Where young people committed an offence before their 18th birthday, the YOS will supervise that order until it expires. In addition, the Prevention Team are working with young people aged between 10 – 17 years old who although they have been identified as being at risk of engaging in anti-social and offending behaviour have not entered the Youth Justice System.
What does it mean for a parent if your child becomes involved with the YOS?
If your child becomes involved with the youth justice system at any level Monmouthshire and Torfaen YOS may offer you the opportunity to voluntarily receive Parenting Support, if you think it would be useful. However, if the YOS or Court believe that you need a parenting programme to help stop your child offending and that you may not attend voluntarily, they can ask for a Parenting Order, which will legally require your attendance.
Parenting programmes provide parents/carers with an opportunity to improve their skills in dealing with the behaviour that puts their child at risk of offending. They provide parents/carers with one-to-one advice, as well as practical support in handling the behaviour of their child, setting appropriate boundaries and improving communication. By improving the parenting skills of parents/carers, these programmes address one of the biggest risks associated with young people offending.
Can anyone refer a young person to Monmouthshire and Torfaen YOS?
Agencies involved with the young person should make referrals to the Prevention Service. For details on how to refer to the Prevention Service please see the Prevention section of this site. The Police refer young people to the YOS for Restorative Justice Disposals and Cautions. If a young person is known to the YOS at a level above a Caution they will be referred to the YOS by the Courts.
How and why does the YOS assess young people?
Research has shown that children and young people who offend have multiple needs that must be identified and addressed in order to reduce their risk of offending or reoffending. Monmouthshire and Torfaen YOS uses a range of assessments to identify the needs of young people, the risk they present to themselves and others, and the likelihood of them offending or reoffending. The assessments used by YOS’ require them to speak to the young person, their parents, and other services that have worked with them or their family, and gather information about their criminal history (if they have already offended), education, health, family, environment and attitudes.
Monmouthshire and Torfaen YOS uses the information from these assessments to protect the public and create programmes of activities for the young person that address their needs and reduce the likelihood of offending. The YOS review these assessments at regular intervals and update them when a young person’s circumstances change. For young people who have offended, the YOS uses an assessment called Asset. Asset must be completed with all young people subject to a Cautions, or due to be sentenced to a custodial or community order. These assessments are also used with young people who engage with the Prevention Service.
What service can the victims of crime expect from Monmouthshire and Torfaen?
The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime sets out the minimum level of service victims of crime should expect from the criminal justice system. The Monmouthshire and Torfaen Youth Offending Service consult with all victims of youth crime and offer them the opportunity to become involved in the restorative process.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice is an important part of all intervention undertaken by the YOS. The best known and most commonly used restorative processes are:
Victim Offender Mediation: The victim and offender, helped by an independent person, communicate with one another. This may be by direct meeting or, if preferred by either the victim or the offender, indirectly with the third person acting as ‘go between’ in a ‘shuttle mediation’. Questions may be asked, information exchanged and an agreement reached.
Restorative Conferencing: Supporters, as well as victim and offender, meet together in a conference run by a trained person. At the end, agreements are made that set out what the offender will do to deal with the harm done.
Family Group Conferencing: The young person who has offended, with members of his/her extended family, meet with the victim and supporters of the victim and possibly representatives of agencies, e.g. social services and schools. The meeting is run by an independent third person and after all views have been stated, the family have a private meeting time to create a plan, which is then put to the whole conference for acceptance.
Referral Order Youth Offender Panels: Young offenders and parents meet with trained community volunteer panel members to discuss the offence and its consequences and agree a contract to repair the harm and address the causes of offending behaviour. Victims may be invited to attend if they wish, or have their views put before the panel.
What is Reparation?
Reparation is a practical way to pay back for the harm caused by the offence, either by directly repairing the harm or through constructive work to help the local community. The victim is usually consulted about what should be done.Reparation can include:
Reparation to the Victim: For example, an oral or written apology/explanation or a practical activity supervised by the YOS.
Community Reparation: Includes a variety of activities to ‘pay back’ benefits to the community, including activities such as graffiti removal, litter picking, gardening, painting plus others.
Can I volunteer at the YOS?
The YOS uses volunteers to sit on Referral Order Panels. These volunteers are fully trained and sit alongside officers of the YOS, young offenders, parents and sometimes victims. The aim of the meeting is to negotiate contracts to prevent the young person reoffending and to repair the harm caused to the victim.
Who works at YOS?
Please see the Introduction section of the front page.