When children and young adults are criminalised through the justice system, this can be incredibly damaging. Prosecution can result in a criminal record, impacting their life choices including job opportunities. Involvement in the justice system can also cause trauma and negative effects on mental health. The experience of being within the criminal justice system can also have a ‘tainting effect’ making it more, rather than less, likely that the child will be criminalised again. Note that across England and Wales, the age of criminal responsibility is 10 – meaning children can get a criminal record from that age.
OK, there's young people... they're just struggling now as adults and can’t get jobs because they've had criminal records for things they've done in care, like smashing cups or breaking washing machines or like adolescent behaviour.
You know, try and to get a career and like pursue a good life, but then it can affect you... If you ever have to have like, try to get a job it's, ‘’Oh you got criminal record because you done criminal damage’’ but they don't actually look into what was that criminal damage. Something tiny, but then it can really affect you. Like if you go to court, you know, like I have to declare on my record I have a criminal damage thing for something stupid from growing up.
Police use of outcomes 21 and 22, and good practice from Neath Port Talbot Youth Justice Service.
Go to Diversion approaches and good practice
Cwm Taf Youth Offending Service have produced a range of resources designed to provide a trauma-informed, child-centred approach to work by youth justice services.
Go to A trauma informed response in the justice system
Good practice examples from Gwent and South Wales.
Go to Early Intervention work
Good practice examples from Dyfed Pows, Gwynedd and Anglesey, South Wales, Morganwg, and Monmouthshire and Torfaen.
Go to Multi-agency initiatives to tackle criminalisation
A good practice example from Bridgend.
Go to Restorative Approaches in local authority children’s residential homes