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Youth Justice: Action Plan

Young Defendants’ Working Group – Action Plan 2012

The Michael Sieff Foundation works to influence the Government, the Judiciary, policy makers and senior practitioners. Our vision is to see:

  • Better recognition of the statutory requirements to consider the welfare of young defendants and reduce offending
  • A reduction in the number of young people in custody
  • Better support, information and services available to young defendants, their families and carers
  • The age of criminal responsibility in the UK raised so it is in line with other European countries

As a group we will:

  1. Raise awareness and educate relevant parties and groups on issues relating to young defendants (10 to 18 year olds) and the youth justice system, by giving presentations at relevant conferences and training seminars, providing representatives to sit on working parties and task forces, etc.
  2. Consider the needs of young adults in transition (17 – 24 year olds).
  3. Organise conferences for senior policy makers and practitioners.
  4. Contribute to consultation exercises and reviews on all issues relating to and affecting young defendants.
  5. Publish academic, legal and mental health papers providing a clear evidence base for our arguments.
  6. Raise awareness among Parliamentarians to ensure they have a greater knowledge and understanding of young defendants in the criminal justice system.
  7. Raise public awareness through media inputs.
  8. Work with key partners (Judicial Studies Board, Magistrates’ Association, Criminal Bar Association (CBA), Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)) to improve the training that is available to key personnel/professionals that are involved with young defendants i.e. youth court magistrates, defence and prosecution solicitors/barristers and sentencing judges.
  9. Work with key partners to ensure that better information is available for young defendants and their families/carers, on what to expect when going to court, as well as details of what support is available to them e.g. the publication of a Child Defendants Pack and a training DVD on Child Defendants for Judges, Barristers and Solicitors.
  10. Work with the Government and Judiciary to improve the support and provision of services to young defendants, in particular, assessments of young defendants around fitness to plead / competence to stand trial; and to develop better links between family and youth divisions with respect to youth cases.