Whole system approach to young people who offend: evaluation

An evaluation of our Whole System Approach (WSA) to young people who offend in Scotland.

Appendix D: Diversion Programmes Available to Young People

a) Social Work Diversion

A referral from the Fiscal to the Local authority Social Work Department to work with the young person to provide support, advice and opportunities, in order to effect change. Under this programme, the young person will be involved in individual and group work sessions which, depending on individual needs, willl cover the following: offending behaviour, alcohol education, drug education, sexual health, social skills, employment and training opportunity and problem solving. Other agencies may be included, for example, the Fire Service.

Diversion providers work with the Fiscal to assess what should be offered through the diversion programme. They also have to consider whether, and if so how, other agencies can provide resources that will contribute to the effectiveness of the diversion programme.

b) Restorative Justice ( RJ) Programmes

Restorative Justice covers a range of practices aimed at addressing or repairing the harm caused by offending behaviour. The RJ process tends to provide support for victims, as well as offering offenders the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and make amends. The aim is to address behaviour in a way which empowers the people harmed, those responsible, and wider community members to resolve issues in a constructive way. RJ is aimed at those who have offended and participation is entirely voluntary. Once embarked upon, either party can withdraw from the process.

c) Motoring Offence Diversion

The programme aims to make a driver of any age aware of their poor driving behaviour, and if possible result in improvements to that behaviour without the need to bring the case to court. Programmes can be provided by private providers or included in social work diversion programmes.

d) Flexible Approach to Offending

This approach is managed by the police, and aims to prevent future offending and antisocial behaviour by children and young people and provide interventions which are timely and proportionate, whilst at the same time alerting other agencies to concerns which exist about a child's or young person's well-being.

e) Direct Measures

The Procurator Fiscal can also use other Direct Measures such as a warning, paying a fine or the option of paying compensation. Direct measures are generally regarded as lower tariff than diversion to social work or to a restorative justice programme. Young people on supervision orders would not usually be diverted from prosecution. The assumption is that in deciding to deal with the case the Procurator Fiscal considers that it is necessary to prosecute the case in the public interest. This presumption may be overridden where the Procurator Fiscal is satisfied it is not in the public interest to prosecute the child having regard to the gravity of the offence, frequency of the offending, or other issues, including vulnerability, that point to the case being better addressed within the Children's Hearings System.


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