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 email@example.com 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?
Although only in existence for a few months, Youth Just Us has already:
- Taken part in a consultation about digital rights, considering why incorporating digital rights into the UNCRC might be beneficial
- Questioned Scottish Government Ministers Humza Yousaf (Cabinet Secretary for Justice) and Maree Todd (Minister for Children and Young People) about issues at the 2019 National Youth Justice Conference.
- Recorded a podcast. Group member Kevin Lafferty participated in ‘The Forum’ podcast with Deputy First Minister John Swinney, discussing why he thinks the care-experienced bursary should be made available beyond 26.
- Met with the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP, to discuss their views and ask questions about the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill in September.
- Held a film screening of ‘Trouble’ and reflected on personal journeys through the care and justice systems.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com to discuss how best to proceed.
We’re 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Blogs and other stuff
Pictured below: members of Youth Just Us with Maree Todd