SCYJ submission to the AGO call for evidence on social media and the administration of justice

SCYJ has made a submission to the Attorney General’s Office’s (AGO) call for evidence on breaches of reporting restrictions on social media. We are aware of instances of reporting restrictions being breached on social media and in internet searches.

SCYJ believes the law as it stands is clear and enforceable but is undermined by: a) a statutory loophole allowing children to be identified pre-charge; b) the absence of a clear route for bringing breaches to the attention of social media providers; and c) a failure of social media providers (and others) effectively to remove illegal material where this is brought to their attention.

Breaches of reporting restrictions on social media could be reduced and tackled if: a) internet companies made reporting breaches simpler and clearer; b) internet companies took swift and effective action to prevent breaches; c) the AGO, police and Crown Prosecution Service took action against offenders; d) the law was changed to prevent children being named pre-charge; and e) a public education campaign was launched to ensure people are aware of the law on reporting restrictions.

You can read our submission here.

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SCYJ submission to Home Office consultation on Offensive and dangerous weapons: new legislation

SCYJ has made a submission to the Home Office consultation on new weapons legislation, which proposes a number of new laws around knives and corrosive substances. We set out our views on these proposals as they affect children.

In principle we do not object to proposals B and C, which extend existing offences around possessing certain weapons in private and possessing offensive weapons in education institutions other than schools. However, we continue to oppose mandatory custodial sentences for children and would caution that criminal justice measures cannot prevent knife crime.

Proposal D introduces a more complicated test for the offence of threatening with a knife or offensive weapon, and greatly lowers the threshold for conviction. Given the severe penalty associated with a conviction (custody) SCYJ does not believe the change is justified.

Proposal G makes it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place. SCYJ understands the serious concern around acid attacks, but believes the proposed legislation is unnecessary. If it is to be introduced, it needs significant amendments to satisfy the requirements of legal certainty and avoid unjust and unintended prosecutions.

You can read our submission here.

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SCYJ writes to Lammy Review team

SCYJ has written to the Lammy Review team at the Ministry of Justice – the team tasked with looking at the recommendations made by David Lammy in his review of the experiences and outcomes of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the justice system.

We highlight the ways in which Lammy’s recommendations that relate to the youth justice system impact on, and intersect with, the wider aims, ethos and direction of the system as a whole. To see a copy of our letter, click here.

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