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:  Below are a variety of presentations concerning prevention and diversion practice in youth offending teams around England.   Linked below are a variety of presentations delivered at the regional Developing Practice Prevention and Diversion Workshops in spring/summer 2021 by youth offending teams. These detail prevention and diversion practice in their YOT. Some include context of current practice, implementation methods,…
Summary:  Attached are Cheshire YJS diversion strategy, pathway flowchart and assessment tool for working with children who can be diverted away from the criminal justice system.  Age: 10-17 Sex: n/a Cost: n/a     Aim: divert children away from the criminal justice system, where appropiate.     Description:Attached below are some key documents developed and used by Cheshire youth justice…
Summary: Link to the Centre of Justice Innovation briefing about youth diversion.   Description: The Centre for Justice Innovation have published their fifth evidence and practice briefing, ensuring effective referral into youth diversion. The briefing focuses on systems for referring children and young people into diversion. It outlines the evidence base on referrals, explores good practice and shares insights from…
Summary: Diversion screening and assessment tool and case planning template used with children who are at risk of entering the criminal justice system. Age: 10-17 Sex: n/a Cost: none     Aims:• Support practitioners to screen and where appropriate complete assessment with children who are at risk of entering the criminal justice system.     Description:Lancashire Youth Offending Team have…
Summary:  Attached are the slides and link to the recording of the YJB live session from Lancashire and Lewisham concerning child participation and working in a child first way.     In November 2020, Lancashire Youth Justice Service and Lewisham Youth Offending Service participated in the YJB Live session to talk about the work that they are undertaking around embedding…
Summary: Attached is the flow chart created by Barnet YOS concerning OoCD for professionals and children. Age: n/a Sex: n/a Cost: n/a Aims: Support the YOS and partners to work together effectively. Support children to understand the process.     Description: Attached, in a PDF is Barnet YOS have created for professionals when considering and administering Out of Court Disposals.…
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:…
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.
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