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Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice

E-bulletin, Issue 7, October 2013

Welcome to the CYCJ

It’s been an exciting few months for the CYCJ. We’ve expanded our team, successfully introduced a High Risk Mental Health Youth Project, supported the pilot of an Erasmus probation programme and continued to hold well-received skills and networking events across Scotland.

Our new additions bring a wealth of expertise to the team, and we’re delighted to welcome them on board.  There will be more changes to come as we continue to progress as a Centre.

To keep you updated with our news, we’ll be sending out this
e-bulletin on a monthly basis. We’d love to receive your feedback on what you’d like to see included, so get in touch at cycj@strath.ac.uk. Please also let us know about others who would like to receive this and we’ll add them to our mailing list.

Happy reading!

Fiona Dyer
Strategic Manager

High Risk Mental Health Youth Project

Since it was rolled out in September, the High Risk Mental Health Youth Project has provided support to a large number of social workers and welcomed two new team members.

Introduced with the aim of promoting best practice in forensic mental health risk assessment and management for young people who offend, the Project supports social work assessments and interventions with young people in line with national guidance.

Clinical/ forensic psychologist Dr Lorraine Johnston leads the service and we were pleased to recently welcome Leanne Gregory to the team to assist with psychological assessments, along with Jane Scullion, who will provide administrative support.

So far, twelve young people have been referred to the Clinic with cases being discussed at a fortnightly meeting. The project team supports social work assessments and interventions with young people in line with GIRFEC.

Fiona Dyer, CYCJ Strategic Manager, says: “We are delighted that the Clinic has progressed so well. Our hope is to reduce the need for local authorities to outsource specialist forensic mental health assessments and opinions and improve the quality of services available to what is at large a marginalised group in society. Although it is based in Glasgow, we are keen to ensure that all high risk young people and families, regardless of where they live, have access to this service.”

If you’d like to find out more or make a referral, please contact fiona.dyer@strath.ac.uk.

Putting young people in the picture

Next Wednesday (30th) is the closing date for the Centre’s design competition, seeking the photographic talents of Scotland’s young people. Each photograph that is selected as a winning entry will win a £10 Amazon voucher. Read more here.

Please encourage the young people you work with to take part.

Research review

Research Fellows Nina Vaswani and Stephanie Smith join Dr Graham Connelly in expanding the CYCJ’s research team.

Projects that the team are working on include research into Safer Lives, an individualised programme for young people displaying sexually harmful behaviours; pathways into HMYOI Polmont for young people under 18; a process and implementation evaluation of Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care in Renfrewshire; and exploration of the potential to develop an offence seriousness measure, to help guide future youth justice practice and research.

News in brief

Stuart Allardyce, Development Officer at the CYCJ, has been elected as Chair of the Scottish Branch of NOTA. NOTA (National Organisation for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) is a multi-disciplinary professional organisation dedicated to preventing sexual abuse by supporting practitioners through events, publications and networking.

Stuart said: “I’m delighted to take on this role. I’m keen that the organisation moves forward in helping our Scottish members to develop their practice and skills in working with both adolescents and adults involved with harmful sexual behaviours, and contributes towards a safer Scotland."

Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, visited Dumfries and Galloway this summer to see and hear about the practice of the Youth Justice Service. There was a particular focus on the successful implementation of Early and Effective Intervention services including the Multi-Agency Case Progression Group and Diversion from Prosecution Service.

The CYCJ is collaborating with the Risk Management Authority on a paper provisionally titled ‘Effective practice with young people displaying sexually harmful or violent behaviours: A literature review’. This will assess recent trends and developments in the national and international literature in relation to risk assessment, risk management and effective intervention with young people involved in sexually harmful or violent behaviours.

National Development Consultants David Orr and Jill McAfee gave a positive report of an event that showcased Polmont Young Offenders Institution’s Youth Work provision. David says: “There were some excellent presentations from young people who are currently detained and we found out more about The Big Man Project, a peer facilitated programme relating to offending behaviour and anger management. There was also an impromptu jamming session - never a bad thing!”

Research Fellow Nina Vaswani talked today (24th) at Glasgow’s first Public Protection Awareness Week (PPAW). Nina’s lunchtime session with Julian Heng (NHS) focused on ‘what works in engaging vulnerable young men with support services’, raising awareness of the research that was conducted into the needs of vulnerable males and how to encourage help-seeking behaviour among young men.

Fiona Dyer is attending the ADSW criminal justice conference this week at Crieff Hydro, where she is giving the keynote speech on the interface between youth and adult justice. She is also preparing to travel to London to meet with the youth justice board and London probation to discuss their 'user voice' policies and see their user board in action.

Champions Groups

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

A working group has been formed in partnership with the Vulnerable Girls and Young Women (VGYW) and High Risk Champions Groups comprising Health, ADSW and third sector representatives to develop a proposal for a multi-modal clinical therapeutic service for young people with complex needs not met by existing mental health services. The aspiration is to deliver an initial pilot project across several local authority areas, with a view to commissioning a national service.

An Early Effective Intervention Development Day held at Ibrox was well received by practitioners, with praise for the “excellent discussion and great interaction”. For the first time, the event featured a PP voting system, which meant participants could give a quick response and get instant answers to questions. The event was also tweeted live using the hashtag #EEIevent.

Research into the pathways for young people in custody by the Reintegration and Transitions Champions Group, to be conducted in partnership with Education Scotland, has just received ethical approval. The group is also supporting Police Scotland to write procedures for the detention of children.

Communications update

Charlotte Bozic joined the CYCJ last month as communications support.  She will develop a communications strategy for the CYCJ and help to strengthen its brand and profile over the coming months.

One of Charlotte’s first priorities was to redesign the CYCJ website. You can view it at www.cycj.org.uk. This is a work in progress which will develop over the next few months. The Centre is also on Twitter – follow @CYCJScotland for news, updates and live tweeting from events. Watch this space for more developments…

Events and training

National Training Strategy – we need your input

CYCJ is working with partners to produce a training strategy for youth justice practitioners, following suggestions made at the Scottish Government Strategic Group.

This strategy will support smaller local authorities in joining together to share training costs and enable consistency and professionalism within the field of youth justice across Scotland.

In order to take this forward, we are asking you what areas of training you would find most beneficial, and what you would like to train your staff in. Please click here to find out more and make a suggestion.  

The report for the New Technologies and Child Protection conference, a joint venture between WithScotland and the National Development Team within the CYCJ, is now available online. View it here.

Webinars, or online workshops, are becoming increasingly popular. Check out the Neari Press webinar series. Also recommended is the Mental Welfare Commission’s webinar series, the next of which will take place on October 30 with Dr Donald Lyons providing an overview of the Commission’s Right to Treat Guidance.

Coming up...

Tuesday, November 26: Trauma-Informed Treatment for Young People with Behaviour Problems. One day skills training led by Dr Ricky Greenwald of the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute, USA. This will take place in the Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde. Contact cycj@strath.ac.uk to book – places are limited.

Wednesday, November 27: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate & Professional Open Evening. 4pm to 7pm. Find out more.

The Scottish Government has commissioned Recruit With Conviction to organise employer consultation events throughout Scotland on reform of the legislation which could support ex-offenders into employment. The dates for these are as follows – please pass on to anyone you think might be interested:

Glasgow 7/11
Edinburgh 15/11 
Aberdeen 22/11
Dundee 26/11  
Dumfries 3/12   
Inverness 4/12

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 from the criminal justice field and beyond.

SAGE Insight has compiled expert views on the minimum age for criminal responsibility in a special issue that follows on from the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry Special Interest Group conference in October 2012.

Check out the On Probation blog for an interesting insight into the Probation Service in England and Wales and the impact of major restructuring.

CJ Scotland describes itself as ‘an independent resource about criminal justice in Scotland’. 

Brisbane’s Courier Mail discusses why early intervention is the best way to prevent youth crime – and why boot camps are a no go.

Several major pieces of legislation are working their way through the Scottish Parliament which will have an impact on the youth and criminal justice field:

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Key features include a recommendation that all children and young people up to 18 should have a Named Person and a proposal that local authorities should have a duty to assess a care leaver’s request for assistance up to and including the age of 25. The issue of the age of criminal responsibility may also be broached given that Scotland, with an age of criminal responsibility of eight and an age of criminal prosecution of 12, continues to lag behind other countries.

The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill aims to modernise and improve efficiency within the Scottish criminal justice system. It includes the significant recommendation arising from The Carloway Report proposing that the law in relation to corroboration in criminal cases is modified, with a shift in focus away from the quantity of evidence to the quality of evidence.

The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill: Key proposals include a duty on organisations within the justice system to set clear standards of service for victims and witnesses and to give them new rights to certain information about their case. 

If you’d like to demystify the process by which a Public Bill passes through the Scottish Parliament and the various required stages to become an Act, we recommend Guidance on Public Bills.

The last word

If, at the end of the working day, you still haven’t had your fill of all things youth justice, we recommend Jenni Fagan’s debut novel The Panopticon. Fagan’s experience of growing up in the care system has lent her a writing style of such authority and authenticity that it has garnered praise from critics as diverse as Irvine Welsh and Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

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