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Youth justice services

Our approach to youth justice

Children and young people who become involved in offending are often some of the most vulnerable in our communities. They have often had traumatic experiences in their early childhood, which can have an impact upon their behaviour. 

We are committed to working with partner organisations to provide a range of interventions to support young people and their families or carers to prevent them from coming into conflict with the law, but when necessary to intervene as early as possible. The aim of all interventions with young people is to support them to have positive lives and be valued members of their community.

'Whole system approach'

We have adopted the 'Whole System Approach for Young People who Offend' which was launched by the Scottish Government in September 2011. 

Underpinned by Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) and the findings of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (McAra & McVie, 2010), this approach involves putting in place streamlined and consistent planning, assessment and decision making processes for children and young people, ensuring they receive the right help at the right time to address their offending.

The Whole System Approach focuses on working with children and young people as soon as they become involved in criminality and the idea that many young people could, and should be, diverted from statutory measures, prosecution and custody through early intervention and robust community alternatives.

Early and Effective Intervention (EEI)

Our Early and Effective Intervention (EEI) service works with children and young people who have been involved in minor offending. 

EEI Coordinators work in partnership with Police Scotland, housing and education to identify and support young people. 

There are a number of options available to address the offending behaviour including the use of a warning letter, intervention and support from an allocated worker or a referral can be made to a partnership agency to address their offending and/or underlying issues. 

Currently this includes the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Barnardos Axis, the YMCA and SACRO.

Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration or the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service

More serious offending by young people may be dealt with by Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration or the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service who will refer to us. 

Some young people may then be made subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order through the Children’s Hearing System or a Structured Deferred Sentence or a Community Payback Order through a court. 

This would require them to engage with members of staff who are trained in risk and needs assessments and risk management to ensure that they receive appropriate support and that their offending behaviour is being addressed through appropriate interventions. 

Community Alternatives

Community Alternatives, our intensive support service, provides intensive supports to young people and their families to assist and support them in their communities and prevent them from entering secure accommodation and prison. They offer an integrated approach with social work, health liaison and education through individual and group work. 

Additionally, they work in partnership with the Procurator Fiscal to divert young people away from the criminal justice system and through the Youth Bridges team to assist our young people on their reintegration into the community from secure accommodation and prison.

Significant risk of serious harm

There are, however, a small number of young people who pose a significant risk of serious harm to others.  North Lanarkshire will work alongside partner organisations to assess and manage risk through the implementation of the Care and Risk Management (CARM) procedures which were developed with Police Scotland, the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Coordinator, education, housing and health. 

Risk is managed and minimised through effective communication, information sharing, assessment, multi-agency decision making and development of risk management plans. 

Page last updated:
14 Feb 2024

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