SCYJ comment on “naming and shaming” court ruling

Commenting on today’s ruling by Lord Justice Leveson that children previously involved in court proceedings can be named in the media after they turn 18, Penelope Gibbs, Chair of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) said:

“We are very disappointed by the judgement this morning that children who had been given anonymity in the courts, can be named when they hit their 18th birthday.  This clarification of the law means that vulnerable witnesses and children who offend may face the harmful glare of publicity just as they are trying to put the past behind them, and turn their lives around.  There is no public interest in identifying child victims, witnesses and offenders who were previously anonymous. We believe that the law needs to be changed to stop this happening.”

For more information on the case see the Just For Kids Law press release here. Just for Kids Law is a member of SCYJ and intervened in the case.

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CRAE, Howard League &SCYJ publish briefings for Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill

The Criminal Justice and Courts (CJC) Bill contains provisions on the introduction of secure colleges – a new form of youth detention. The Children’s Right Alliance for England (CRAE), Howard League for Penal Reform (HL) and Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) are seriously concerned by aspects of the government’s plans for secure colleges.

Together, we have produced briefings for the Bill’s Committee Stage on amendments to the Bill which would address some of our concerns, namely:

  • Amendments to prevent children in secure colleges being restrained to preserve good order and discipline, and to specify the circumstances in which restraint can be used.
  • Amendments to prevent children under-15 and girls from being held in secure colleges.
  • Amendments to require secure college custody officers to assess and promote the best interests of detained children.
  • Amendments to ensure there continue to be adequate places in Secure Children’s Homes for detained children who need them.

The full briefings can be seen here:

 

CRAE, HL & SCYJ Submits Written Evidence to Criminal Justice and Courts Public Bill Committee

The Children’s Right Alliance or England (CRAE), Howard League for Penal Reform (HL) and Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ) are seriously concerned by several aspects of the plans for Secure Colleges.  We have outlined these in our written submission to the Criminal Justice and Courts Public Bill Committee. Some of the aspects we are concerned about are:

  • The effect large institutions will have on the safety and outcomes of the most vulnerable children placed there.
  • The safeguarding implications of accommodating girls and younger children  with a large number of older boys.
  • The permitted use of “reasonable force… to ensure good order and discipline” on children within secure colleges despite this being deemed illegal in 2008 and therefore removed from STC rules.
  • The lack of a strong duty to assess and pursue each child’s best interests to protect their welfare needs
  • The high cost of the untested pathfinder secure college – £85 million – when youth justice budgets are tight and the lack of detail about Secure Colleges.

CRAE, HL & SCYJ Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – Public Bill Committee Submission

We have also given oral evidence to the Criminal Justice and Courts Public Bill Committee

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