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Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice

E-bulletin, Issue 8, November 2013

Welcome to CYCJ

This month, we welcomed Professor Sandy Cameron CBE as independent Chair of the CYCJ Executive Governance Group.

Professor Cameron’s contribution to Scottish social work has been exceptional, and we are privileged to have him join us. Claire Lightowler will also join the team as Director on December 2. We are delighted to welcome both Claire and Sandy, and look forward to working with them to drive forward our mission.

The CYCJ team (pictured!) has been as active as ever, presenting at national conferences, delivering lectures at universities and holding skills training events. My own trip to London, where I met with the Youth Justice Board and Probation Board, had several positive outcomes which you can read about in this issue. I also learnt more about developments south of the border when I attended the Youth Justice Convention in Birmingham.

This month we report on positive developments in the youth justice sector, including figures that show a fall in youth crime offences and Stir, an award-winning magazine by prisoners for prisoners – find out more in News and Views.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our National Training Strategy so far, your input has been greatly appreciated. If you haven’t already done so, please give us your thoughts.

If you’d like to make a suggestion for e-bulletin content, please get in touch at cycj@strath.ac.uk. Remember to let us know about others who would like to receive this and we’ll add them to our mailing list.

Fiona Dyer
Strategic Manager

Professor Sandy Cameron joins CYCJ

Professor Sandy Cameron CBE has been appointed as independent Chair of the Executive Governance Group for CYCJ.

Professor Cameron and the Executive Governance Group will support CYCJ and partners in ensuring youth and criminal justice practice, policy and research is informed by the best possible knowledge.

Professor Cameron - whose longstanding and exceptional contribution to social work earned him a CBE in 2000 - said: "I am very much looking forward to having this opportunity of working with the team to take forward the development of sound and innovative practice which can make a real difference in young people's lives - helping them to move on from offending.”
Read more.

Figures show Whole System Approach works

The latest Scottish Police Performance Framework and the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) Annual Statistics present some extremely positive figures in relation to young people who offend.

The findings of both reports demonstrate that the Whole System Approach to implementing the Preventing Offending Framework is having an extremely positive impact and making substantial progress. Read more.

Dr Greenwald talks trauma

Dr Ricky Greenwald, founder and executive director of the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute, USA, gave a stimulating presentation on trauma hosted by CYCJ at the University of Strathclyde on November 26. ‘Trauma-Informed Treatment for Young People with Behaviour Problems’ was a skills training event aimed at professionally qualified practitioners.

Describing trauma as “a horrific event beyond the scope of normal human experience” Dr Greenwald told his audience that: “We’re in a trauma resolution workshop today because we understand that what doesn’t kill you…messes you up.”

Dr Greenwald considered trauma theory, the impact of trauma and loss, how trauma and loss relates to presenting problems and trauma-informed treatment to address this. Delegates were asked to consider how they’d approach a case study, with an experiential exercise in trauma resolution work that resulted in a brief therapy session!

Using his analogy of 'The Fairytale' where the dragon is slayed to demonstrate trauma resolution methods, Dr Greenwald advised:  “Whatever sword or resolution tool you’re using, you need to go through all the steps…to make sure your client can fight the dragon”.

New addition for the HRMHYP team

Clinical Psychologist Leanne Gregory joined the High Risk Mental Health Youth Project this month. Leanne joins CYCJ from the NHS, where she was part of a dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team.

Of the project, she commented: “I think this is a brilliant, sensible and practical initiative - and one that is necessary to make sure we’re reaching every young person who’s at risk.”

London calling...

CYCJ’s Strategic Manager Fiona Dyer recently visited London to make new connections. Fiona met with Nat Defriend of the Youth Justice Board, to discuss Asset Plus, a holistic approach allowing one record to follow a young person throughout their time in the youth justice system and the possibility of Scotland’s (and CYCJ’s) inclusion in the training for this.  CYCJ is looking into knowledge exchange collaboration opportunities with the YJB, so watch this space!

Fiona then met with Nigel Hosking and Sue Rex from London Probation Service,  to find out more about ‘User Voice’, an organisation for ex-offenders, and ‘Engagement Works’, a new initiative to get ex-offenders into employment. In this, the Probation Service has led by example and recruited eight ex-offenders to support probation officers, with the criteria that they remain crime-free for 12 months.  SEEDS, a skills based training programme aimed at helping practitioners to reduce re-offending, was also on the agenda, as well as ‘every contact matters, building on every child matters’ within prisons, a National Offender Management Service led initiative.

Said Fiona: “It was really useful to find out what’s happening south of the border in the youth and criminal justice sector during this extremely informative trip. We hope to work closely with our English counterparts to share knowledge exchange and best practice, and form mutually beneficial partnerships that will have a positive impact on the youth justice sector UK-wide.”

Youth Justice Briefing Papers

CYCJ is now sending out monthly Briefing Papers on selected youth justice topics and issues. The first of the new series, which focuses on the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) generic risk assessment tool, was authored by Nina Vaswani. Access it here. 

If you have any research that you would like peer reviewed/published by CYCJ, or have suggestions for themes you would like to see covered, please get in touch at cycj@strath.ac.uk.

Research Review

Safer Lives in Scotland – Seeking Practitioners Past and Present
Safer Lives is a model of working with young people aged under 18 who are involved in sexually harmful behaviours.  Since 2008 a number of practitioners in Scotland have been trained as Safer Lives Trainers, and training in the model has been subsequently cascaded to practitioners via these trainers within Community Justice Authority areas. 

CYCJ is conducting a short piece of research into both trainers’ and practitioners’ experiences of this training and into the implementation and use of Safer Lives in Scotland with the aim of assessing the extent of Safer Lives roll-out in Scotland and collating practitioners’ views on the model. 

We would like to hear from anyone who has been trained to deliver Safer Lives or who has attended a Safer Lives training course as a practitioner, even if you are not currently using Safer Lives in your work.  The survey will take 10 minutes to complete and is completely confidential.  You can access the survey here, or contact CYCJ on 0141 444 8700 for further information.

The ‘Pathways to Polmont’ project, which aims to explore the backgrounds of young people and the circumstances that led to their imprisonment at HMYOI Polmont during the last two years, is now underway. 

Following an extensive review of files, a number of interviews will be carried out with young people to assess what alternatives were available at the time of custodial sentencing. The research will also explore other variables relating to support from various sources including social work, families and communities, and educational and career planning. 

Dissemination on the findings will be made available and reported on in early spring of next year.

News in brief

Fiona Dyer attended the 14th Youth Justice Convention for England and Wales, held in Birmingham. The focus was identifying and disseminating effective practice in youth justice. The event featured many  informative seminars, presentations and discussions – access them here.

Students across Scotland are benefiting from CYCJ expertise. Practice team colleagues David Orr, Fiona Dyer, Stuart Allardyce and Jill McAfee recently delivered lectures at Edinburgh University, Robert Gordon University (Aberdeen) and Glasgow University on social work low risk assessment, youth justice policy and simulation sessions on report writing.

As part of her work on trafficking, National Development Consultant Jill McAfee attended an event on witchcraft and social care, organised by Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network. 

Jill said: “The conference handled this delicate topic very well. Although the majority of cases are primarily happening in England, with a focus on London, an increasing amount are occurring in Scotland.

“There is a huge culture of families genuinely believing that their children have been possessed. At the conference, a very interesting talk was given by the Muslim community, who told us that a large percentage of their population sincerely believe in witchcraft and possession. Although the majority follow the guidance of prayer, a growing minority don’t feel this is enough, and are turning to different organisations with potentially devastating effects for their children.”

At the Sexual Offenders Practitioner’s Forum taking place at HMYOI Polmont tomorrow (29th) Stuart Allardyce and Lorraine Johnstone will hold a workshop on working with young people charged with sexual offences. The event has been a sell-out.

Stuart Allardyce’s session on sexually harmful behaviour at the Community Care Conference at Birmingham this month was well received by delegates. Praise was given for his “inspired and really thought-provoking” session and “excellent, informative knowledge and presentation”.

Champions Groups update

The Champions Groups continue to hold events and meet on a quarterly basis. You can view the latest minutes on our website.

Vulnerable Girls and Young Women’s Champions Group, in partnership with Zero Tolerance, is planning a pilot project on internet safety for November/December with girls and young women in receipt of high risk services. The project will be based in Good Shepherd and will involve young women in secure care and intensive community based services.

Jill McAfee, of the Early and Effective Interventions Champions Group, delivered a workshop on EEI at the GIRFEC conference on November 12, with Jim Devoy of the Scottish Government which resulted in “lots of questions and good feedback”.

Events and training

Have you been trained to use asset and use it on a regular basis? You could be eligible to be trained as a trainer for your Local Authority.

With a substantial amount of asset training requests, CYCJ has made the decision to train a group of trainers across Scotland, who can deliver the training to any new staff within your Local Authority area. The training will be held during the course of a day in January 2014. Date and venue will be confirmed ASAP. There will be a fee of £25 per person to cover costs and lunch will be provided.

To register an interest in this training, please e-mail cycj@strath.ac.uk.

Crucial questions about relationships and care were raised at the University of Strathclyde’s Humanities & Social Sciences public lecture, given by ‘Hackney Child’ author Jenny Molloy. Read the full account.

Neari Press have confirmed the line-up for their 2013-2014 webinar series Find out more.

Coming up…

Monday, February 10, 2014: ‘Restorative Practice in the aftermath of serious crime: Examination of the evidence and identification of learning for practice’ at the University of Strathclyde. More details.

Do you have events or training series you’d like us to promote? Send the details and dates to cycj@strath.ac.uk.

News and views

The latest updates and reports from the criminal justice field and beyond.

An amendment to the Victims and Witnesses Bill that could incorporate ‘restorative justice’ into Scots Law has been welcomed. Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes brought forward the amendment, which has received positive coverage in the media.  Restorative justice has already proven to have a successful impact in youth crime and with this latest development, the scene is set for a wider roll-out. Sacro's Tom Halpin provided comment in The Scotsman.

A magazine that is setting new standards for creative work in prisons recently won a Herald Society Award in the Education Category. Stir magazine is run by an editorial board consisting of prisoners at HMP Shotts, in partnership with New College Lanarkshire. The magazine features work by prisoners at Barlinnie, Cornton Vale, Dumfries, Glenochil, Greenock, Low Moss and Shotts. Read more.

Have you experienced the Ripple Effect? That’s the name given to a victim awareness toolkit and film produced by the South West Scotland Community Justice Authority (SWSCJA). ‘The Ripple Effect’ reflects the ongoing and far-reaching impact of many crimes on those involved.  Find out more.

Watch two of Europe’s leading thinkers discuss the future of criminal justice and electronic monitoring and outline the coming challenges for policy and practice, in a new video lecture from Strathclyde Law School’s Centre for Law, Crime and JusticeView it here.

The Herald gives a view on the electronic tagging of sex offenders.

Following the Howard League’s ‘What is Justice?  Re-imagining penal policy’ conference, podcasts of the plenary are now available online. View them here.

Families Outside's latest report looks at support for families with a young person in secure accommodation.  Read it here.

Save the date - the next issue of Scottish Justice Matters will be out in December. Read a preview here.

The last word

The CYCJ Library is now online! Click here to browse all of our available titles. If there’s a book you’d like to get hold of that isn’t listed, please contact us at cycj@strath.ac.uk and we’ll see what we can do.

Get in touch with your news and views at cycj@strath.ac.uk