Thousands of volunteers are being sought in a national campaign
to help tackle young offending.
The home office and youth justice board are searching for 5,000
volunteers to join youth offender panels, now being set up across
England and Wales.
Panels will be made up of two volunteers from the local
community and one member of the youth offending team. Young
offenders who plead guilty and are convicted for the first time
will be referred by the youth courts to the panels from April
Norman Warner, chairperson of the Youth Justice Board, said:
“Early evaluation suggests that the youth offending teams in the
pilot areas have responded well to the novel challenges set by the
implementation of referral orders.
“The pilot areas have successfully recruited and trained
sufficient youth offender panel members who have shown themselves
able to meet the demands of leading and facilitating panel
meetings,” he added.
The panel will meet the young person and his or her family, and
wherever possible the victim of the crime to draw up a contract
with the offender. This will include activities and restrictions
designed to deal with the offenders, prevent re-offending and
repair the harm done to both victim and the wider community.
Launching the national recruitment campaign, home office
minister Beverley Hughes said: “We need 5,000 men and women of all
ages and from all backgrounds to volunteer as young offender panel
“These people will have a major role in dealing with young
offenders, helping them to face up to what they have done, make
sure they do not offend again, and try to put right the wrong they
have done,” Hughes said.