Youth Justice Service Information


What we do

There is a Youth Justice Service (sometimes called a Youth offending Team or YOT) in every local authority in England and Wales. In Flintshire, the Youth Justice Service is based in Mold.

Flintshire Youth Justice Service works together with families and other agencies to make sure each young person gets access to the help they need. The primary role of the youth justice service is to prevent offending by children and young people.

Bureau / Early intervention

Flintshire Youth Justice Service works with children and young people when they haven’t offended. This might be because there is a reason to believe that they are at risk of offending in the future. 

Additionally, if a young person commits an offence for the first time, or the offence is less serious, and the young person admits the offence, the police will refer the young person to the Bureau give them access to additional support to stop further offending.

If a young person has been referred to the Bureau:

The young person, parents and or carers (and where appropriate their victim) will be asked to engage in an assessment. The Bureau Panel – made up of the Youth Justice Service and Police will discuss the most suitable intervention which may include:
Community Resolution
Youth Caution
Youth Conditional Caution

The Bureau Panel may decide that an out of court solution is best both for the young person and for everyone else involved. These can only be considered when the young person admits the offence. 

However, if the Bureau feel the case is more serious it could go to Court.

Court outcome

If the young person commits a particular offence, or the young person has committed several offences before, the police may decide to prosecute in court. In most cases the young person will be heard at a Youth Court where they might be sentenced to a youth disposal. These include amongst others:
Referral Orders
Youth Rehabilitation Order
Custodial Sentence

Preparing for court

• Make sure you know the date and time that you need to be at court.
• Try to look as smart and clean as possible, the court does not like you to wear a cap or hat, or have your hands in your pockets.
• Ensure you know your way to court.
• You must make sure you attend court as not doing so is a serious offence.
• If there is a very good reason why you cannot attend – you must let the court know straightaway and they will tell you what to do. For example if you are ill you may have to send in a doctor’s note.
• The court expects your parents / carers to attend and may order them to attend if you turn up on your own.
• If you do not have a solicitor you can ask to see one when you attend court (via legal aid).
• At court you will be asked to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ - see the at court page for further information.
• If you do not have a solicitor you can ask to see one when you attend court (via legal aid).

Attending court

• You must make sure you attend court as not doing so is a serious offence. If you fail to turn up a warrant may be issued and you could be arrested.
• If there is a very good reason why you cannot attend – you must let the court know straightaway and they will tell you what to do. For example, if you are ill you may have to send in a doctor’s note.
• The court expects your parents / carers to attend and may order them to attend if you turn up on your own.
• When you arrive at court you must sign in at the front desk and you will be shown where to wait.
• If you do not have a solicitor you can ask to see one via legal aid.
• Someone from the Youth Justice Service will be there on court day and make sure you know what is going on and can answer any questions you might have.
• You will be called into the court room and shown where to stand by the Court Usher.
• The Court Clerk will read out the charge/s against you.
• You will be asked to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’

What happens if you plead guilty?

If you plead not guilty the case will be adjourned for a trial.

This will give your Solicitor and the Crown Prosecution Solicitor time to prepare their cases. That means they will gather all the information they can for the Magistrates who will find you either guilty or not guilty.

Case Adjourned

This means you will have to come back on another day.

Unconditional Bail means you are trusted not to offend again or to contact witnesses. You are also trusted to attend court on the new date.

Conditional Bail means the Magistrates may order you to keep to conditions they set. For example: stay at home during certain times and keep away from certain people. It is important that you keep to these conditions.

Sometimes the court will decide that it is necessary to remand you to custody. If this happens, you will have to go to a Youth Offender’s Institution (YOI) or a Secure Training Centre (STC) until the next court date.

Sentencing

The Magistrate will make a decision about sentencing after reading reports and hearing from the Crown Prosecution Service and defence solicitors.

Referral Order 

If a young person (10 – 17 years old) is appearing in court for the first time and has pleaded guilty to the offence, they might be given a referral order.

Referral Orders are made for a period between 3 and 12 months.

Once the Court has made a Referral Order, a member from the Youth Justice Service will contact the young person and their parent / carer. The young person is ordered to appear before a Referral Order panel within 20 days of the court appearance, together with their parent or carer.

The Referral Order panel meeting brings together volunteers who are specially trained to take part in these panels, a practitioner from the Youth Justice Service, the young offender and their parent or carer and sometimes the victim of the crime.

Together they put together a programme which will include reparation work (giving back to the community and/or victim) and work to address the offending behaviour.

Youth Rehabilitation Order 

The Youth Rehabilitation Order, also known as a YRO, is a community based sentence. This means getting together with the Youth Justice Service fairly often to complete different activities and tasks. The Youth Justice Service will work with you to help you change your offending behaviour and try to make your future free of offending.

The type of activities that may be required to complete a YRO programme include:
• Education / training
• Anger management
• Reparation (giving back to the community)
• Family support
• Supervision
• Programme of activities
• Unpaid Work
• Curfew

To help you complete your YRO, your youth offending worker will:
• Explain what will happen during your YRO and work out a programme of work and activities with you.
• Talk with you about what you have done and the effects it has had on the victim and community.
• Answer your questions.
• Support you to complete your YRO, record your progress and help you to stop offending.
• Give you positive feedback and encouragement.

To complete your YRO, you must put in some work too and make sure you:
• Attend appointments on time and engage, otherwise you will be given a verbal and a written warning. If there are no changes in your participation, you may be required to go back to court.
• If you are unwell you may need to provide YJS with a note from your GP.
• Attend appointments free from the influence of alcohol or drugs otherwise you will be asked to leave and this will count as a missed appointment

Remand

If a court decides that a young person is not suitable for bail then the young person will be remanded to youth detention accommodation until at least the next court hearing. A young person can be remanded until a sentence is finally given but further applications for bail can be made during this time.

A young person can be remanded until a sentence is finally given but further applications for bail can be made during this time.

If a young person is arrested and charged, and it is not possible to appear in court on the same day (for example during a weekend), and the police feel it is not safe to bail the young person they will be held overnight in secure accommodation by the local authority. The young person would then appear in court the next morning (or Monday following arrest on a Saturday night).

Custody

If a young person is sentenced to a custodial outcome by a court, then they will go straight to youth detention accommodation. For all youth custody disposals the young person will serve half of the sentence within youth detention accommodation and the other half on licence within the community.

If a young person breaks the terms of their licence they may be returned to youth detention accommodation and a new release date given.

The Youth Justice Service will support the child, young person and their family during this time and will visit you in custody. 

If you are concerned about your child in custody you can report this to the Youth Justice Service Officer and or contact the secure establishment directly and speak to the Duty Officer.

Young People in custody:
https://www.gov.uk/browse/justice/young-people
https://www.gov.uk/young-people-in-custody
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/secure-estate-for-young-people-contact-details

To report concerns about a child:
https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Social-Services/Child-Protection.aspx

If your concern is an emergency contact the police on 101 or 999

Other useful links for young people:
If a young person is struggling with their mental health:
https://youngminds.org.uk/
https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/support-for-parents

For LGBT young people:
https://www.stonewallcymru.org.uk/

 

Out of Court Disposals

Community Resolution

 A Community Resolution is used for minor offences or anti-social behaviour incidents. This is an informal agreement between the parties involved and is often used for first-time offenders where they have admitted to committing the offence.

For any community resolution:
• Victims wishes will be taken into account
• Young person’s agreement is required in order to participate and accept responsibility.
• Youth Justice Service is notified and they will assess the risk and intervention level
• If the young person agrees to work with the Youth Justice Service this will be done with a Prevention worker.

Youth Conditional Caution

A Youth Conditional Caution may be offered when a young person admits an offence, there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and when the public interest can be best served by the young person fulfilling the pre-agreed conditions rather than going to court.

For a Youth Conditional Caution:
• Police and Youth Justice Service will give conditions that are in proportion to the offence, helps rehabilitation and gives the young person a chance to offer reparation instead of prosecution
• Conditions could include a curfew, staying away from a particular area or another person, and working with the Youth Justice Service
• The Youth Justice Service will assess the risk and intervention level and work will be done under the diversion programme.
• Non-compliance may result in prosecution for the original offence.

Youth Conditional Cautions are considered to be ‘spent’ once the conditions have been completed (normally 3 months).

Whenever a Youth Caution or Youth Conditional Caution is given, the young person, the police officer and any parent, guardian or appropriate adult present, must sign a form to confirm that it was given for the offence committed. The disposal should be given at a police station unless there is a valid reason why this is not possible.