SCYJ submission to YOI inspection ‘expectations’ consultation

SCYJ has responded to a HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) consultation on the third edition of its ‘Expectations for children’ document, aimed at locating its criteria for assessing the treatment of children and conditions in prisons within the context of international human rights standards.

We believe their approach is largely very successful, and we congratulate HMIP on this. There are, however, both some gaps in the document and also some weaknesses in adopting a mainly outcome driven focus that we believe could be easily accommodated within this overall framework, and we would urge HMIP to consider doing this.

Read our full response here.

SCYJ submission to consultation on domestic abuse

SCYJ has responded to the Home Office consultation, Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse.

SCYJ has concerns around the measures proposed in the consultation insofar as they impact on children (16- and 17-year-old) alleged and convicted perpetrators of domestic violence:

  • Many child perpetrators of domestic abuse and children in the criminal justice system more widely face multiple vulnerabilities, with many being victims of domestic abuse themselves, either directly or indirectly. The proposals in the document do not address this.
  • The consultation pays no attention to the fact that 16- and 17-year-olds are children and must be treated differently to adults, with specific child-focussed responses.
  • The consultation pays very little attention to how children who are victims of abuse can be better supported, even when they go on to become alleged or actual perpetrators of abuse.
  • The proposals contained in the consultation may make it more likely that children will be caught and penalised as perpetrators of domestic abuse, increasing the criminalisation of children.

You can read our full submission here.

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SCYJ submission to PAC inquiry into Courts and Tribunals reform

SCYJ has submitted written evidence to the Public Accounts Committee Transforming Courts and Tribunals inquiry. The inquiry aims to address the findings of a recent National Audit Office report that found the scale of proposed changes to HMCTS present a challenge, and HMCTS has so far made less progress than it original planned, with costs increasing whilst benefits have decreased.

SCYJ has concerns that there has been a general lack of consideration of the distinct needs of children in the HMCTS Reform Programme, and the impact reforms may have on children’s rights and justice outcomes. This is likely to impact on projected costs and benefits.

SCYJ believes the reforms are unlikely to produce significant cost savings, and will reduce the service available to vulnerable users, threatening access to justice.

Our response focuses on the HMCTS Reform Programme in the criminal courts, especially on the use of video links and online pleas with child defendants (under the age of 18).

You can read our full submission here, and published by the Public Accounts Committee here.

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