Through our Another chance – Diversion from the criminal justice system grant round, we’re investing £18m in alternatives to arrest, conviction and custody for children.
We catch-up with some of the funded organisations to find out about their work and ask why they think diversion programmes are so important.
“The young people we support are experiencing multiple disadvantages. They are growing up in unsafe neighbourhoods in the inner north-London area on the periphery of gang culture and violence. This combination of factors can often lead young people to find a sense of belonging by joining a gang, which can see them spiral into drugs, knife crime and postcode rivalry.
This is a critical time in a young person’s life and our programme is designed to engage them during these decisive periods in their life. Dedicated, confident and experienced mentors and volunteers are able to build a strong rapport and build trust with the young people, to provide that reliable, stable support and positive guidance. We do this through challenging activities such as rock-climbing and bicycle maintenance. Programmes like ours are vital to tackling the issues around youth disengagement by working intensively with groups of disaffected young people at risk of social exclusion.”
We Are With You | Re-Frame programme
“Re-Frame’s main aim is to reduce the criminalisation of children, to divert them from the criminal justice system. At the point of arrest, for possession of a Class B or C substance, the child will be offered this restorative programme and if they engage, they will avoid further criminal prosecution. We know that criminalisation is detrimental to the individual, that it increases re-offending rates and is costly to society. Re-Frame will ensure children are given an opportunity to avoid this pathway through education and support. Our colleagues at the University of Kent, will be evaluating our work through a randomised control trial, the gold standard of evaluation. This will increase the sector’s confidence in understanding what works and ensure delivery of diversion projects is of the highest standard to protect and support children.”
“Redthread’s youth workers provide holistic, tailored support and advocacy for young people at a point of crisis, when we aim to capitalise on the unique ‘teachable moment’ – a key turning point that gives young people the opportunity to accept support and empower them to make positive changes within their lives.
We do this by embedding our youth workers into the hospital, an anchor institution in its community, working alongside the doctors and nurses meeting young people affected by violence and exploitation at the front door of A&E and walking alongside them, wherever they travel through their hospital and also when they are discharged back into their community. We also provide important training and advice to hospital and community professionals to upskill and build confidence working with young people, which enhances the support provided to young people and leads to better outcomes.
We find that these young people often have multiple and complex needs, which are often not being adequately met. A safety and action plan is co-produced to address these needs and they are provided with further support for the actions to be completed. As examples, this could include help with their safety, housing, mental health or education, training and employment. Working in partnership with specialist services in the community, we scaffold and relationally refer to them for continuing support where it is needed. Without this holistic package of support they may return to hospital for similar reasons, potentially with more serious injuries, with their needs unmet and the cycle of violence continues.
Programmes like ours are crucial to ensure young people receive the support they need, their chances of involvement in violence are reduced and they are empowered to reach their potential.”
Find out more
Themed grant roundWe know that sometimes, children need another chance: alternatives to arrest, conviction and custody. Diversion programmes help them do that.
BlogFind out what the most recent data tells us about the way crime and violence is affecting young people today
BlogIgraine Rhodes and Sarah Fullick explain why the YEF and EEF are coming together to learn how to improve school attendance and reduce exclusion.
BlogWe talk to Graeme Duncan, Chief Executive of Right to Succeed, about leading the YEF Neighbourhood Fund’s work in Norfolk.