Coronavirus: Issues and recommendations for children – SCYJ member feedback

In this unprecedented public health emergency, our members and stakeholders are working intensively through the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be implications for all children and young people in our communities, particular challenges for those in the youth justice system, and exceptionally critical risks for children in custody.

Over the past few weeks, we have been working with our members to gather information and insight, enabling us to highlight issues and make practical suggestions, outlined in this paper.

The paper makes a number of recommendations around safeguarding children in the community; children under the supervision of YOTs; minimising throughput of children into the youth justice system and custody; children in custody; and coordinating the safe release of children from prison.

Key areas for consideration include:

  • Specific communications directed at young people about the importance of social distancing and isolation measures.
  • The balance of public health risks alongside other risks to safeguarding children and young people from harm.
  • The role of frontline youth workers with flexible emergency funding, personal protective equipment and antibody testing.
  • Support, guidance and advice for youth offending services and community partners.
  • Guidance for policing children and young people and minimising arrests.
  • Maximising diversion from the youth justice system and penal custody.
  • Managing the planned release of children from prisons.
  • Longer-term considerations for children in the youth justice system.

Read more here.

SCYJ priorities for youth justice

SCYJ has written a briefing outlining our priorities for a youth justice system that respects children’s rights and supports every young person out of trouble.

Our priorities include:

  • Increasing the minimum age of criminal responsibility
  • Maximising diversion and minimising contact with the criminal justice system
  • Investment in community-based, child-centred responses to children in trouble with the law
  • Reducing the number of children deprived of their liberty and the closure of all penal custodial establishments
  • Reforming childhood criminal records and anonymity law to promote reintegration
  • Ensuring courts are child-centred and promote understanding and participation

Read the full briefing here.

SCYJ is hiring a Policy and Communications Assistant!

SCYJ is hiring a Policy and Communications Assistant to play a key role in our small policy and communications team. The role will support the work of the busy organisation with communication, research and administration duties, and have the opportunity to gain experience of policy work and parliamentary campaigning.

The purposes of the job are:

  • To be a champion of the rights and wellbeing of all children and young people involved with the youth justice system
  • To bring ideas and creative communications skills to SCYJ’s policy and communications work
  • To engage with our members and the wider sector, including children and young people themselves, to inform our work and share practice
  • To help SCYJ stay up to date with policies and practices that affect children involved with the justice system
  • To be part of the SCYJ team and collaborate with the SCYJ Board and members

We welcome applications from people who have:

  • Commitment to social justice and bringing about positive change for children and young people
  • A genuine interest and understanding of the issues affecting children involved in the youth justice system
  • Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to engage with people from a range of backgrounds and develop collaborative working relationships
  • Persuasive and creative written and visual communications skills, and experience of producing written materials for different audiences 
  • Familiar with digital media, including using social media channels and ability to produce content for website and use survey software
  • Experience in MS Office including Outlook, Word and Excel
  • Ability to explore and understand large amounts of information
  • Strong administrative, organisational, time management and prioritisation skills

Further details about the SCYJ and the role can be found in the recruitment pack, available here.

To apply, please complete the application form, available here, and send to by midnight on Sunday 8th March 2020.

You are welcome to attach a CV to your application if you wish, but this is not a requirement of the application process. Applications will not be considered without a completed application form.

We will invite successful candidates for interviews on Friday 20th March 2020 in central London. We hope the new appointee will start in early April, though we can be flexible on start date.