Youth Justice Voices

Youth Justice Voices is a joint collaboration between the Children’s and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) and the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum (Staf), funded by the Life Changes Trust.

YJV and COVID-19: latest update
Youth Justice Voices is continuing to work hard to support, connect and involve young people in participation activities during the pandemic. This has included making use of online meeting facilities such as Zoom, introducing schemes such as ‘WhatsApp Wednesdays’ and doing everything possible to provide practical and emotional support. Please email to find out more.

What’s the story?
Set up in April 2019 to amplify the voices of young people aged 16-25 with experience of the care and justice systems, this youth justice advisory group is using creative ways to enable young people to be heard in the justice system, and explore and share their experiences with policymakers, managers, corporate parents and the Scottish Government.

Why ‘Youth Just Us’?
The project steering group made the decision to call themselves ‘Youth Just Us’. In addition to being a clever play on words, they felt it gave “justice” to justice experienced young people by dropping the label.

What have they achieved so far?
The young people leading Youth Justice Voices have already had a big impact, including:

  • Influencing the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill by meeting with the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP.
  • Being commissioned by the Scottish Government to engage with care and justice experienced young people on Scotland’s new Vision and Action Plan for Youth Justice, developing and leading online participation sessions.
  • Being consulted by the No Knives Better Lives (NKBL) on their new initiative to create a virtual reality game for secondary school pupils that will educate them and provoke discussion about the dangers and risks of carrying or using knives.
  • Interviewing the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney MSP, and calling for him to consider removing the age cap of 26 years for the Care Experienced Students Bursary – something he announced the following week.

Where’s the entertainment?
In addition to influencing change, Youth Just Us is equally serious about having fun! The group have enjoyed games of bowling, Lazer Quest and football, whilst enjoying the odd pizza, Mexican food and games night. Oh, and not forgetting Giant Jenga…

Why should I get involved?
Youth Just Us is open to those aged 16-25, who have experience of the care and/or justice systems. If you want your views to be heard (and acted on), and to play your part in changing the future of youth justice in Scotland, plus meet new people and do something a wee bit different with your time, then this is the group for you. Meetings take place in Glasgow on most Monday evenings. You are very welcome to bring along your support worker.

Contact Ruth Kerracher on to discuss and find out more. Follow us on Twitter for all the latest information: @Ruth_Kerracher @CYCJScotland @StafScot.

Connecting and consulting with Youth Justice Voices
We have received requests from number of organisations to consult with the members of our youth led participation group, and more widely with care and justice experienced young people. This is welcomed, with one aim of this project being to shape and influence legislation, policy and practice in relation to these areas. Please consider the following points when making a request to engage in consultation with one of the constituent groups, before contacting Ruth Kerracher via to discuss how best to proceed.

Latest news

YJV is commended by the Howard League for Penal Reform

We are delighted too announce that Youth Justice Voices has received a commendation at the 2020 Howard League Community Awards in the Children in Care and Care Leavers Category! This is important recognition of the hard work and creativity that our young people have put into influencing and shaping change. Read the full story.

Young people – have your say in the future of youth justice
To make sure that it’s getting Scotland’s new Vision and Action Plan for Youth Justice right for young people, the Scottish Government has commissioned Youth Justice Voices to develop an engagement strategy.

With the support and training of Youth Justice Voices participation workers, young people will develop a range of tools to gather the views of justice experienced children and young people on what the priority areas for the next two years and beyond should be.  They’ll also consider key issues such as the Age of Criminal Responsibility place of safety and the extension of the Children’s Hearings System.

We are looking for existing youth and participation groups and organisations currently using Zoom or online platforms, to support young people to take part. Click here to find out more.

To help workers to support young people to participate in any consultations they might have an interest in, we have created a topic guide (on behalf of the Scottish Government). View it here. Responses for this should be returned to by September 30.

The first session will be on September 22 at 1pm, focusing on the Scottish Government’s consultation on extending the age at which a child can be referred to the Children’s Hearing System. Sign up here. Contact to find out more.

We’re in it to win it
Youth Justice Voices has been shortlisted for the Howard League Community Awards 2020 in the Children in Care and Care Leavers category. This is a welcome acknowledgement of the hard work our young people do, and their enthusiasm and creativity in bringing about change for others. The winners will be announced on October 20, 2020.

YJV newsletter – now out
The very first edition of the Youth Justice Voices newsletter – created by young people for young people – has been published in June 2020. Read here for more about how people are coping with COVID-19 and creative ways of staying busy during lockdown. The newsletter, which aims to help young people stay connected and engaged, will be available electronically (printed copies are available on request). There’s also an option for readers to submit anonymous submissions for the chance to win a gift voucher and feature in the next newsletter. Contact for more info.

Blogs and other stuff

Empowering young people to lead change – October 2020

Youth Justice Visionaries – September 2020

Teaching young people to be happy – September 2020

A space to be heard – May 2020

If you make sure you’re connected – April 2020

Connecting young people during COVID-19 – March 2020

Creating meaningful participation with young people (CYCJ Info Sheet): January 2020

We’re listening – key messages from Youth Just Us – Sept 2019

Youth Work’s Role in the Youth Justice System – Sept 2019

Another busy month – July 2019

Youth Just Us – May 2019

Pictured below: members of Youth Just Us with Maree Todd




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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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