Islington’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) works with youth justice services and specialists from partner agencies such as the police, schools, health and probation services and voluntary organisations. It will support young people who are subject to court orders, provides preventative work with Targeted Youth Support (TYS) and supports parents and victims of youth offenders.
When a court finds a young person guilty of an offence they will then decide upon a sentence. Sentences are designed to protect the public and ensure that the young person engages in work to address their offending behaviour. The young person will also receive support with other difficulties that they may be dealing with.
A custodial sentence is usually passed when the young person is considered as presenting a risk to the public and requires detention.
Community penalties may be used if the young person can be made subject to an order from the court and supervised in the community by YOS.
If after sentencing a young person does not comply with the court order, they will return to court and may receive a new or additional sentence.
For more information, visit the Youth Justice Board website.
YOS provides information to the court to inform sentencing decisions. These are known as pre-sentence reports and include details of the offence, the young person's circumstances and the reasons for their behaviour, the impact on the victim and a suggested sentence.
Bail and remand
The court may decide to bail a young person to attend a future court hearing. Bail usually comes with conditions like a curfew to stay away from any witnesses, restricting their movements, reporting to a police station at certain times or a programme of support from YOS.
The court may remand a young person to the care of the local authority, in which case they become a 'looked after child'. YOS directs the young person to live where their needs will be best met and in the interests of protecting the public. This can be with a family member or specially recruited and trained foster carers. If the court orders a secure remand, YOS will work with the Youth Justice Board to find a suitable place and ensure the young person is escorted there.
If a young person admits to committing an offence, they may be given a Youth Conditional Caution instead of being prosecuted through the courts. This usually happens when it would not be in the public interest to prosecute the young person. Youth Conditional Cautions have one or more conditions attached. If the young person does not keep to these conditions, they could then be prosecuted in the courts. YOS supports young people given Youth Conditional Cautions.
YOS is aligned with Targeted Youth Support (TYS). TYS supports vulnerable young people aged 10-19 (or up to age 21 for the Youth Counselling Service). TYS will work with each young person from their own starting point, working with their peers, parents and other organisations to help them understand the consequences of their actions and to make the changes they need to make positive choices in the future.
TYS will work in youth centres, schools, family homes, community buildings and youth hubs across Islington. TYS will also deliver work on the streets, in parks and on estates through detached and outreach work. Support is provided to young people individually, in groups and with their families.
Young people can be referred to TYS by emailing TYS@islington.gov.uk or calling 020 7527 2600 (9am -12.30pm, Monday to Friday). Or you can contact the Children’s Services on 020 7527 7400, 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday or 020 7226 0992 at all other times.
You can also complete an online referral form.
Support for parents
YOS can support parents of young people who use YOS, are in custody (a young offenders institute or a secure placement), or are at risk of getting into trouble with the police.
The YOS Parenting Officer can help parents through one-to-one support, group work with other parents, and workshops and training sessions about gangs, keeping your child safe on the internet, and adult education.
YOS can also help parents get the support they need with things like problems with drugs or alcohol or getting help with housing. YOS can talk to people working in other services on behalf of parents.
YOS can see parents at home, in our offices or over the phone. YOS is also available for advice and support at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court.
Parents can use the parenting support services voluntarily, or it may be a condition of a court order.
Support for victims
If you are a victim of a crime committed by a young person, the police will usually pass on your contact details to the YOS Victims and Restorative Justice Officer unless you ask them not to. The officer will contact you to arrange a telephone appointment.
During your discussion, the officer will:
- check if you have any concerns about the offender's behavior towards you
- explain what happens to the information you give them
- explain the offender's sentence and how the sentence decision was made
- ask if you would like to be kept informed of key developments during the offender's sentence ask if you would like to be involved in any restorative justice processes
Your involvement with the victim support service is voluntary, and you may change your mind about having contact with the YOS Victims and Restorative Justice Officer at any time.
If appropriate, the Victims and Restorative Justice Officer will arrange a meeting with the offender so that he or she may apologise in person, or arrange for you to receive a written apology. You may also be given the opportunity to be involved in a panel meeting to discuss and sign a contract of work to be completed by the offender, or to attend a Family Group Conference where members of the offender's and the victim's family discuss the impact of the crime and support the offender in taking responsibility for their actions.
Our responsibility to you
At all times YOS and the Victims and the Restorative Justice Officer will respect your views, ensure confidentiality and provide a safe environment for meetings. We will not contact you again if you ask us not to, or put any pressure on you to meet with the offender if you do not wish to do so.
We rely on members of the community to assist us in delivering some of our work with young people who have become involved in offending, especially when a young person has received a referral order.
A referral order is a contract that is imposed on a young person to stop them from re-offending, to repair some of the harm that they have caused and to help them with other difficulties that they may be facing. There are three people on a referral order panel including two from the local community.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Islington please call 020 7527 7050 or email YOS.ReferralOrder@islington.gov.uk. You must live or work in the London Borough of Islington, be prepared to take part in an intensive training course and be able to devote several hours a week.
Integrated Gangs Team
The Islington Integrated Gangs Team (IGT) works with young people aged 10-24 who are at high risk of involvement in gang-related crime or violence, or who have been victims of serious youth violence.
The IGT includes staff from the police, Islington Council, the Probation Service, Job Centre Plus, the NHS and voluntary and community sector organisations such as Victim Support and Abianda.
If you have concerns about a young person at risk of joining a gang please contact Children’s Services on 020 7527 7400, 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday or 020 7226 0992 at all other times.
You can also complete an online referral form.