Out of Court Disposals and Prevention

When a child commits an offence in some cases, it may be most appropriate to divert or ‘triage’ them away from the criminal justice system entirely and work with the child, family and victim through more informal ways to address their needs and prevent further offending. There is no one method of working with children to divert them.

Generally, if a child has been ‘triaged’ or diverted but becomes involved in further offences it may be appropriate to consider an out of court disposal or charge.
Out-of-court disposals can be used for children who have admitted an offence, but it is not in the public interest to prosecute as it is not always appropriate for children that commit a crime to be sent to Court. It may be appropriate for the Police and Youth Offending Teams to consider an Out of Court disposal.

Out-of-court disposals range of options include;

  • No further action;
  • Community Resolution; (community resolution is the term for the resolution of a minor offence or anti-social behaviour incident through informal agreement between the parties involved, as opposed to progression through the traditional criminal justice process)
  • Youth Caution; (Youth cautions aim to provide a proportionate and effective resolution to offending and support the principle statutory aim of the youth justice system of preventing offending by children)
  • Youth Conditional Caution; (Youth conditional cautions are a caution with one or more conditions attached. If a child does not keep to the conditions they could be prosecuted for the original offence).

Prevention may involve programmes or interventions that support the child to avoid contact with the criminal justice system in the first instance. youth offending teams do not typically receive funding for this type of activity, however they are most often involved in supporting many projects. There is no one way of dealing with prevention.

Summary: This form aims to provide a brief overview of a child's circumstances to help identify potential needs or concerns in order to inform the level of intervention. Age: 10-17 Sex: n/a Cost: No   Description: The form is designed to briefly screen a child's circumstances with a view to making a decision on the outcome, whether this is with…
Age:  8-17 Sex:  n/a Cost:  no   Aims: To provide schools with an option short of a formal complaint to the police To offer an additional resource/option to deal with a serious incident At the earliest opportunity to divert young people committing low gravity offences away from the criminal justice system into effective interventions Increase the confidence of victims through…
Age: 12-14 Sex: n/a Cost: no     Aims: Instil knowledge of the consequences of offending in young people before contact with the Youth Offending Service/Justice System Inform young people of the personal/social consequences of offending behaviour through an interactive presentation Explain the different stages of the youth justice system and identify the legal consequences in relation to these stages…
Age: 10-17 Sex: n/a Cost: no     Aims: Young people to gain a better understanding of the impacts of offending on themselves and others. Increase awareness around the justice system, looking at its purpose, the different disposals and terms used. Highlight and explore the legal and social consequences of offending behaviour.     Description: Darlington YOT use this intervention…
Age: 10-18 Sex: n/a Cost: none     Aims: To give a more restorative and targeted approach to working with those young people who are on a Youth Conditional Caution (YCC) to reduce the risk of them reoffending. To utilise Referral Order (RO) panel members in a more diverse way, given the reduction in RO numbers over recent years. Description:…
Age: 10-17 Sex:  n/a Cost:  none   Aim: To divert children and young people away from the Criminal Justice System, by providing support at the earliest possible opportunity.     Description: Cheshire Youth Justice Service (incorporating Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Halton and Warrington) Early Help provision is currently managed within the Court and Divert Team, which operates across the Cheshire West…
The aim of ‘Liaison and Diversion YOT information guide’ is support youth offending teams (YOTs) to be aware of some key principles to which the YJB believes youth justice Liaison and Diversion should adhere to considering that Liaison and Diversion delivery models can vary based on the identified needs of the local area.
Age: 10-17 Sex: n/a Cost: none     Aims: To reduce the number of First Time Entrants to The Youth Justice System - by diverting young people committing low level offences away from the criminal justice system at the earliest opportunity. Reduction in re-offending rates – research evidences that addressing low level criminal behaviour without formally processing young people through…
The Centre for Justice Innovation has created Valuing Youth Diversion: A Toolkit. This publication is for practitioners who are involved in, or considering creating, point-of-arrest diversion schemes for young people. It outlines the research case for youth diversion, identifies evidence-based practice, and offers messaging support for approaching new and existing commissioners.  The toolkit also provides guidance on a method of…
Age: 10-18 Sex: n/a Cost: none  Aims: The Liaison and Diversion project is aimed at fostering early identification and intervention with potential offenders. It allows for the earlier identification of any health needs that may be contributing towards offending.   Description: Gloucestershire Youth Offending Team has tailored the Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion scheme to suit its local needs. The…
Summary: The ACPO Youth Gravity Matrix is used by the Police to determine whether children should be considered for an out of court disposal.   The ACPO Youth Gravity Matrix provides most offences with a score, which is calculated on the seriousness. The overall score can be impacted by aggravating and mitigating factors surrounding the incident.