Youth Justice Service

Our service is part of the Youth Justice System. We provide help to 10 to 17-year-olds who get into trouble with the law and help them stay away from crime.

Court orders

Community sentences for young people are different from those given to adults. There are 3 main community sentences a court can give - referral, reparation and youth rehabilitation. All are supervised by our Youth Justice Service.

Referral order

  • A community sentence given to a young person who, in court, admits to an offence.
  • The young person will need to complete reparation to either the victim or to the wider community.
  • It can can last for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months.
  • If the referral order is completed without any missed appointments or problems, the conviction will be spent and the young person will not need to tell an employer about it.

Reparation order

  • Includes the young person completing work in the community or directly with the victim of the crime. This is a way of repairing some of the harm that they have caused.
  • Examples include making hampers for charities, gardening, working at food banks and painting schools.

Youth rehabilitation order

  • Given to a young person who has gone to court and either pleaded guilty or were found guilty of an offence.
  • It can last between 3 months and 3 years. 
  • If a young person does not complete the whole programme, they will return to court and could be fined, put on curfew or sentenced to a detention training order.

A detention training order (DTO) is a sentence where a young person is sent to either a young offenders' institute, secure training centre or secure children's centre. It will last between 4 and 24 months and the young person will spend half their sentence in custody and the final half in the community. If they are well behaved, in some cases the young person may be released before the halfway point of their sentence.

Other court options

There are a range of other sentences the court can give to young people.

  • Conditional discharge - the young person does not have to attend the Youth Justice Service but must not be arrested for a set time. If they are arrested during this time, they will be resentenced for the first and second offences.
  • Absolute discharge - the court decides to take no action against the young person. 
  • Fine - the amount the young person has to pay depends on the offence committed. The parents or guardian will have to pay the fine if the young person is 15-years-old or under. If compensation to the victim also has to be paid, the amount will depend on the offence, value of the item and injury to the victim.

A young person must attend all their Youth Justice Service appointments. If they miss an appointment, they may have to return to court.

If they are unable to attend an appointment, they must tell our Youth Justice Service before the appointment, so a new one can be made.

Page last updated: 08 Mar 2023