Diversion from the criminal justice system
Our first focus area will be on diversion from the criminal justice system.
We want to make sure the evidence we build improves the way children are supported. But we know we can’t do this alone. That’s why we’re bringing together people who are passionate about protecting children from harm, to focus their expertise, insight and influence around a common cause.
In future years, we’ll widen our focus to other areas where we think there are opportunities to improve how children are protected from becoming involved in crime and violence.
Our focus area: Diversion from the criminal justice system
By focusing on diversion from the criminal justice system, we’re looking to improve support for young people who have been arrested, but not charged.
This is typically done through diversion programmes or out-of-court disposals, which offer children support at key turning points, such as at point of arrest or before court action is taken.
Evidence shows diversion programmes can be effective at reducing violent crime and reoffending. Importantly, we think there’s scope to change and improve the practices, policies and systems which influence how, when and why diversion programmes are delivered.
To improve diversion for children and families, we’ll…
1. Build coalitions
We’re bringing together children, families, academic experts and experienced professionals working in diversion, to identify what needs to change to better support young people who have been arrested, but not charged.
We’re working with them to analyse the existing evidence base and review – and challenge – current practice, from how diversion programmes are delivered to how they’re commissioned.
2. Publish a guidance report
We’ll use the insight we generate to produce and publish a guidance report on diversion – this will form the foundations for our work for change on this focus area.
The guidance report will summarise evidence of what works, the experiences of practitioners and young people, and identify the most promising opportunities for reducing youth violence. It will provide a set of recommendations to improve practices, policies and systems.
To guide our thinking around the guidance report, we’ve brought together a Strategic Advisory Board to help ensure its recommendations are actionable, worthwhile and make significant improvements for children who come into contact with the criminal justice system. Please see below for further details.
The guidance report will be published in October 2023.
3. Work for change
Our guidance report will outline opportunities to improve how children are diverted away from the criminal justice system. But nothing will change if the recommendations aren’t put into action.
We’ll bring together members of our advisory groups and other cross-sector supporters to implement improvements in current practice, policies and systems based on the evidence.
Our Strategic Advisory Board brings together experienced senior leaders with responsibility and concern for the treatment and experience of children who are arrested.
Members of this group help to:
- Review progress of the guidance report
- Comment on the emerging research findings and connect with wider or existing research
- Advise on related policy
- Connect us with other interested individuals and organisations
- Identify and recommend opportunities for change
Meet our Strategic Advisory Board
If you’re passionate about improving opportunities for children and young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system, and would like to get involved in this work, sign-up below to get the latest updates and opportunities.
Related YEF resources
Themed grant roundWe know that sometimes, children need another chance: alternatives to arrest, conviction and custody. Diversion programmes help them do that.