15 Jul 2008

Response to the Youth Crime Action Plan

15 July 2008

Kathy Evans, Policy Director at The Children's Society, comments on the Youth Crime Action Plan:

"The Youth Crime Action Plan is a mixed bag of policies, with some very welcome proposals but others that raise serious concerns. It doesn't offer a new or progressive approach to tackling youth crime. The Government has missed an opportunity for structural reform that puts welfare at the heart of the system.

We are concerned at the emphasis on increasing the use of anti-social behaviour measures and the language of ‘non-negotiable’ intervention. Early intervention is the key to reducing youth crime, but it needs to be done in the right way. Our experience of working with ‘high risk’ children and families tells us they need intensive support, not draconian crackdowns. The Children’s Society is also concerned by the suggestion to increase the number of convicted 16 and 17 year olds ‘named and shamed’ by courts.

We welcome the commitments to develop a more comprehensive package of support for young people leaving custody, and to explore using financial incentives to encourage local authorities to invest in reducing children entering custody. What is missing however is an explicit commitment to reducing the number of children in custody.”

Notes to Editors:

Media enquiries and further comment: Rachael Bruce, The Children’s Society Media Office, Tel: 0207 841 4422, rdb@childsoc.org.uk