Early intervention is ‘self-defeating’

Targeting children who are perceived to be at risk of offending
could breach their human rights, a youth crime prevention
conference was told last week.

Barry Goldson, senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool,
said: “I am bothered that policy and practice developments may well
prove to be self-defeating in terms of youth crime prevention,
while also compromising the human rights of children and young
people whom they embrace.”

Goldson referred to two methods of early intervention: youth
inclusion and support panels (Yisps), which target eight to
13-year-olds at risk of offending, and identification, referral and
tracking (IRT), which will require local authorities, by September,
to identify children aged up to 19 who are judged “at risk”. He
said that both initiatives “will ultimately criminalise the very
children that they embrace” and “represent the perfect exemplar of

Yisps target children as young as eight and IRT targets children
from birth.

Goldson said that, in effect, this lowered the age of criminal
responsibility from the age of 10, which the United Nations
Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended should be
“considerably raised” last October.

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