Cardiff Youth Justice Service Volunteer Scheme
Cardiff Youth Justice Service is a multi-agency organisation with statutory responsibility for providing intervention, challenge and support for young people and their families with the primary aim of preventing anti-social behaviour, offending and re-offending. The young people with whom the YJS works are all aged between 10 and 17.
The Service is made up of key staff from partner agencies including South Wales Police, Wales Probation Trust, Children’s Services, Careers Wales and Health. This enables the YJS to respond to the needs of a young person in a comprehensive manner.
The YJS also offers support to victims of youth crime or anti-social behaviour and a range of restorative interventions are offered.
Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch on the contact details provided below.
Appropriate Adult (AA)
When a young person is arrested by the police for an offence, they cannot be interviewed without an ‘Appropriate’ adult present. In many cases, the Appropriate Adult will be a parent or carer or other person known to the young person. However, there are times when parents or carers are not available or unwilling to act in this role. Sometimes, if this person is linked to the offence (possibly being the victim or involved in the commission of the offence) then it would not be appropriate for them to support the young person.
In these circumstances, the Youth Justice Service will provide an Appropriate Adult. The role of the AA is to ensure the young person’s welfare is maintained whilst in police custody, that their rights are preserved and to ensure that the young person understands what is happening at all times. It is not the role of the AA to provide legal advice and as such, there will always be a solicitor present when the YJS provides AA services. The AA will play an active role during the detention of the young person, including meeting the young person in advance of any processes taking place, acting during interview and during other processes like taking photographs, finger prints and DNA samples and when decisions regarding charging or bailing the young person are made.
The AA will be expected to liaise closely with the Youth Justice Service regarding outcomes for young people held in police custody.
Community Panel Member (CPM)
When a young person appears in court and pleads guilty to an offence, one option available to magistrates is to impose a Referral Order. This Order does not begin when the sentence is given at court, but when the young person attends a Community Referral Order Panel and agrees to undertake certain interventions aimed at repairing harm done and reducing the risk of re-offending.
This panel is chaired by volunteer ‘Community Panel Members’ who will help to negotiate the content of the interventions with the young person. Victims of the offence are encouraged to either attend the panel meeting or give an impact statement so that their views can be taken into consideration during the process. CPMs will therefore also need to facilitate discussions between victims and offenders.
Panel Members will be provided with a report in advance of the panel, which will be written by the YJS worker following a comprehensive assessment of the young person and their current circumstances.
Typically, a community panel will comprise of two volunteer CPMs, the young person and their support (hopefully a parent of carer), the victim of the offence and their support and a YJS worker. The Referral Order is considered a ‘restorative’ intervention and the Order will be run using restorative principles. Community Panel Members will be expected to undertake detailed training on Restorative Approaches and in facilitating Restorative Conferences.
Referral Orders are reviewed at Community Panels every 3 months and CPMs will be given the opportunity to discuss progress and to decide if the young person has complied sufficiently or if the matter should be returned to court for non-compliance. CPMs may also decide that a young person should be returned to court following good progress for consideration of early discharge of the Order.
Restorative Meeting Facilitator
A Restorative Meeting (RM) is a meeting facilitated by trained volunteers supported by agencies with a stakehold in local problem solving e.g. Youth Justice Services, Anti-Social Behaviour and housing teams, and the Police. RM’s can be used to problem solve with young people and adults, to address harmful behaviours that are not serious enough to prosecute, or that should be subject to more formal out of court disposal. The benefit of using the meeting for some cases is that they provide an opportunity to involve the victim and the community in the process, increasing community confidence and victim satisfaction. The Panels also provide a vehicle for dealing with some behaviour that might otherwise have received no further action, resulting in the impression that nothing is being done to resolve problems for the community.
The role of the volunteer is to undertake visits to both those that have been harmed and those responsible for causing that harm in order to prepare them for a face to face restorative meeting. The volunteer will also be responsible for facilitating the meeting and ensuring that all parties have the opportunity to tell their story.
Community Reparation Volunteer
This role is to support young people to attend placements that they chose as part of their community reparation. The volunteer would collect the young person and take them to the placement and supervise them while they are at the activity and transport home. Those who would like to engage with these roles would spend a period of time post training shadowing other support staff until they feel comfortable and experienced enough to work 1:1 with young people in the community.
Training and Support
All volunteers will be required to attend the following training:
- Foundation Training in Youth Justice
Training exploring personal values, beliefs and perceptions; reflective practice; diversity and difference; communication and listening skills, child development; the justice system – policy and legislative context; causes of anti-social behaviour – risk and protective factors; problem solving approaches and safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. There is an optional accreditation available on completion of this training awarded by Agored Cymru.
- Restorative Approaches Training
Training examining the theory and practice of a structured approach to restorative justice conferencing. There is a significant amount of skills practice to explore the perspective of each individual from harmed to harmer and what may happen in a conference. It also explores real life conferences and case studies.
Additional role specific training will also be provided. All volunteers will be given one to one support, group support and supervision, then ongoing training will be provided.
Volunteers will be asked to make a commitment to serve for at least one year following completion of the initial training. All volunteers should be able to commit to a minimum of 30 hours of their time (excluding training) over a 12-month period. AA’s will be included on a rota which will mean being ‘on call’ at a time agreed with the Pre-Trial team.
Disclosure and Barring Service
All volunteers will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. Previous convictions do not necessarily exclude people from this role; each case will be assessed on an individual basis.
Volunteering does not normally affect state benefits, however you should advise the DWP accordingly.
Tags: In the community, Legal Work
Cardiff Youth Justice Service
John Kane Centre, 213a North Road
Tel: 029 2233 0355