Youth Offending Teams

Recognizing the need for interdisciplinary cooperation in order to implement Restorative Justice, the new Labour Government introduced Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) as the primary vehicle for preventing re-offending at the local level (Act 1998, s. 39). The specific duties of the YOTs include coordinating the provision of youth justice services for all requiring them, and carrying out duties assigned under local Youth Justice Plans (Act 1998, s. 39(7)). YOTs must confront young offenders with the consequences of their offending, for themselves and their family, their victims and their community, and help them to develop a sense of personal responsibility (Home Office, 1998). Youth Justice Plans set out each individual authority's plans for how youth justice services are to be provided and funded and how the YOTs will operate within their area (Act 1998, s. 40).

YOTs must include at least one representative from probation, social services, police, health and education agencies. Membership should also include representatives of the voluntary sector—for example, organizations working with young offenders, or providing services for young persons generally. The Home Office (1998) has maintained that Victim Support, and organizations specializing in mediation and parenting, should also be invited participate in YOTs (para. 13).

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