We work with young people aged 10 to 17 years, as well as their families, victims, and neighbourhoods, to prevent offending and re-offending. Our aim is to help reduce the impact, fear and amount of crime in Conwy and Denbighshire.
The team is made up of colleagues from different organisations who work together, including:
- Youth Justice Officers
- Prevention Workers
- Social Workers
- Probation Officers
- Substance Misuse practitioners
- Education specialists
- A Victim Liaison worker
- A Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) practitioner
- A Police Officer
- A Reparation Officer
- Business Support
- Careers Officers
Who do we work with?
We work with young people:
- Who have not committed a crime, where there is a worry that they might become involved in offending. We call this our Turnaround or a Prevention Support Programme.
- Who have been involved in anti-social behaviour, where the police have referred them to the Youth Justice Service to see if we can offer support.
- Who have committed a crime, where the police have referred them for an out of court disposal, which we call Prevention Panel.
If a child between the ages of 10 and 17 years of age commits an offence, the Youth Justice Service and police will decide whether the offence can be dealt with out of court. This process is also known as the Panel or Bureau.
Panel is an opportunity to divert children away from formal criminal justice processes, such as court.
A child who has committed an offence can take part in reparative activities whilst getting support which is specific to their circumstances. A reparative activity means making things right for the victim or the community by giving something back.
In order for a child to be eligible for a Panel disposal:
- The police must decide that the offence is not considered too serious
- The child must have made a full and honest admission to committing the offence and be willing to work with the Youth Justice Service.
If the above criteria is met, a child can be put forward for Panel.
What happens if a child is put forward for Panel?
The child will be contacted by a member of the Youth Justice Service team. Over the following weeks, they will work closely with the child and their parents or carers. They will get to know them so that they can complete an assessment and report. The assessment and report will then be presented to the panel.
What is a Panel?
The Panel is made up of a Youth Justice Service manager, a Youth Justice Service Police Officer, a Victim Officer, an Education, Training and Employment Officer, specialist staff and a community volunteer. Their role is to consider the information presented in the child’s assessment and report, but also any victim assessments too. The Panel will discuss all information and agree on the most appropriate outcome for the child.
Possible outcomes that the Panel can choose are:
- No further action
- Community Resolution
- Youth Caution
- Youth Conditional Caution
A child can be given more than one Panel outcome, however the Youth Justice Service will consider whether this is suitable for the circumstances. If the Panel feel that the case being discussed is too serious it could go to court instead.
Once the Panel have made their decision, the child will meet with the Youth Justice Service Police Officer to be given the agreed disposal. This will be given in the company of an appropriate adult (usually the child’s parent or carer).
The Youth Justice Service aim to give the Panel disposal the same day the Panel meet and agree the outcome:
- Where they have appeared before court and have been sentenced to a statutory community order
- Where they have appeared before court and have been sentenced to custody
If Conwy and Denbighshire Youth Justice Service and the police decide that an offence is serious enough, it can go to court.
If you are a young person (under 18) from Conwy or Denbighshire appearing in court because you have committed, or been accused of committing, a crime you can contact us on 01492 577377. We can discuss any worries or questions you might have.
Arriving at court
You must make sure you attend court on the correct day and time, 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 straight away 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 or 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 the duty solicitor when you arrive at court.
- Someone from the Youth Justice Service will be there on court day to make sure you know what is going on, and can answer any questions you might have.
Possible court outcomes
You will be asked to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ to the offences (your solicitor will talk to you about this beforehand).
A referral order
If you are a young person (10 to 17 years old) appearing in court for the first time and you have pleaded guilty to the offence(s), you may be given a referral order. The length of a referral order can be between 3 and 12 months. The court decides how long the order is set for, based on the seriousness of the offence.
Once the court has made a referral order, a member of the Youth Justice Service will meet with you and your parent or carer a number of times. They will then complete an assessment and produce a report for the referral order panel.
The Referral Order Panel takes place within 20 days of the court appearance and you must attend, along with your parent or carer.
The panel is a meeting with:
- Volunteers who are specially trained to take part in these Panels
- A practitioner from the Youth Justice Service
- You and your parent or carer
Sometimes the victim of the crime will also join the Panel.
During the Referral Order Panel a plan will be put together for what you will need to do on your order. This plan might include:
- Reparation work (giving back to the community and/or victim)
- Work to address the offending behaviour
- How to make amends to the victim (if appropriate and subject to the victim’s consent)
- Making sure you are getting help and support to stop you from offending again
After the panel you will work with the Youth Justice Service over the length of your order. The Panel will meet with you regularly to review how you are getting on.
A Youth Rehabilitation Order
A Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) may be given if you have either:
- Been found guilty at trial after pleading ‘not guilty’ to your offences
- Appeared before the court before and have previously been given court orders
A YRO can last for up to three years. It is a community-based sentence and can have one or more (from a list of 18 possible options) requirements attached to it. This means you will need to meet with the Youth Justice Service regularly to complete different activities and tasks.
The type of activities that you may need to do to complete a YRO programme include:
- Supervision (meeting with your worker regularly)
- Education or training
- Reparation (giving back to the community)
- Family support
- Complete interventions or sessions on topics related to why you might have offended
- Programme of activities
- Unpaid work
- Non-association or other ‘prohibited activities’ (things you are not allowed to do)
- Restorative justice (an approach to help everyone affected by the crime move forward, for example this could include direct or indirect communication with the victim where the victim has agreed to take part)
This is an order which will make sure you make up for the harm caused. You will also get help and support to prevent you from offending again in the future.
Other outcomes or sentences
As well as referral orders and youth rehabilitation orders there are other outcomes or sentences that the court may give, these include:
- A fine
- An absolute discharge / conditional discharge
- A youth rehabilitation order with intensive supervision and surveillance (YRO with ISS); this is a community order that may be available to those who have committed serious offences or who have kept re-offending. It is an alternative to custody, and may include up to 25 hours a week of supervision and activity as well as a curfew.
- A Detention and Training Order (this means serving a period of time in custody with the remainder in the community with licence conditions).
- If you are appearing before the Crown Court (instead of the Magistrates Court) there are further sentencing options available
More about the team
Other work we undertake includes:
- Appropriate adult services for young people during police interview
- Anti-social behaviour and knife crime workshops in local primary and secondary schools
- Community projects
- Preparation of pre-sentence reports for court
- Support services for victims of crime, including restorative justice
How we are funded
We are funded by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, Welsh Government, Conwy and Denbighshire Local Authorities, and local strategic partnerships.
Become a volunteer
We have a growing number of Youth Justice Service volunteers who support our team. Volunteers get the opportunity to work directly with children and young people, and support decision-making at our panel meetings.
We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved.
Email YOTadmin@conwy.gov.uk for more information.
For more information about the service please call 01492 577377.