Youth crime and prevention
Bexley's Youth Offending Team (YOT) was established under the provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
Bexley YOT is responsible for providing and co-ordinating local Youth Justice Services for children and young people aged between 10 and 17 who are offending or who are at risk of offending. Further information can be found on the Youth Justice Board website.
Youth offending teams represent a joined up approach to youth crime, working in partnership with a range of criminal justice, statutory and voluntary agencies. The YOT is multi-disciplinary and the team includes social workers, police and probation officers, health and education workers.
The principal aims of the youth justice sector are to prevent offending, reduce re-offending, protect the public and support victims and promote the safety and welfare of children and young people in the criminal justice system.
Bexley's key supporting themes are:
- Triage, Liaison and Diversion and Early Help - the YOT has a small prevention team that delivers or oversees prevention focused services including Triage and Liaison and Diversion, Out of Court Disposals, Youth Inclusion Projects and targeted youth diversionary activities. Prevention assessments of need alongside health and education screenings are offered to young people who have been arrested for the first time to ensure that any unmet need is identified early and that they are appropriately supported by relevant services. At the same time, our approach puts any victims of their offending at the heart of interventions. Other targeted diversionary schemes are available for young people involved in, or at risk of involvement in, anti-social behaviour. These services offer support to young people in need on a voluntary engagement basis. The range of diversionary activities are in place to prevent and divert children and young people from entering the criminal justice system and to keep them safe by offering positive activities and access into support services as an alternative
- Involvement of victims - the YOT ensures that at every opportunity the victim's views are heard and that they are given the option to be involved in any decisions about the young person's reparation work, restorative justice interventions or conferences. The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (October 2013) provides information about services to victims of crime.
- Better parenting - the YOT ensures that parents are offered support, advice and guidance to assist parents in managing and supporting their child and family as necessary
- Appropriate use of custody - the YOT offers robust community supervision alternatives to custody to ensure that it is only the young people for whom these alternatives are not appropriate are sentenced to custody. The YOT works closely with custodial institutions to ensure that time spent in custody is as constructive as possible and that plans to help young people are put into effect while in custody and on release
- Changing offending behaviour - the YOT delivers a variety of programmes that address the factors associated with offending behaviour. This is to ensure that young offenders understand the consequences of their actions and take steps to change their behaviour to reduce the likelihood of them re-offending, minimise any risk of harm to others and keep themselves safe through better decision making
- Monitoring and evaluation - to ensure that the work of the YOT is effective and is based on evidence based practice
Youth justice services provided and co-ordinated:
- The provision of persons to act as Appropriate Adult (AA) for children and young people detained by the police where this cannot be undertaken by their parent/carer or other responsible adult. (Out of hours AA services are provided by Bexley Children Social Care)
- Triage, Liaison and Diversion, Out of Court Disposals prevention assessments, health and education screening and signposting to relevant services
- Offer of voluntary and statutory intervention programmes for children and young people
- The provision of bail support and remand services
- The placement of children and young people remanded to local authority accommodation
- The provision of reports and other information required by the Courts in criminal proceeding and other court services including duty cover at weekends and bank holidays
- The assessment and supervision of children and young people subject to community orders and those sentenced to custody
- The co-ordination of custodial placements through the Youth Justice Board's placement service
- The implementation of referral orders, including the recruitment and training of community panel volunteers and volunteer learning mentors
- Offender reparation and restorative interventions for victims
- Probation transitions
- Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Risk Management (including public protection, sexual and/or gang exploitation, mental health and substance misuse issues)
The Youth Offending Team takes referrals directly from the Courts in the form of statutory orders and from the police through the Triage, Liaison and Diversion and all out of court disposals.
The team works with a number of statutory and voluntary organisations to provide a variety of intervention programmes which include programmes aimed at young people who are at risk of committing offences. These agencies include (but are not limited to):
- Bexley's Thriving Families (parenting and a range of early help services)
- Third Sector Organisations (Youth Strategy Partnership)
- Bexley Youth Service (universal, targeted and tier 1 substance misuse services)
- Education and Social Care and Neighbourhood Services
- Youth Action Diversity Trust (targeted diversionary activities and reparation and restorative justice services)
- Victim Support
- The New Horizon Federation Bexley (alternative education provision, behaviour and pathways short stay school)
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
- Bexley Youth Offending Team Full details for Bexley Youth Offending team