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?
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 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.
Youth Justice Voices: Take a Creative Approach to Participation (June 8)
Youth Just Us presents a series of lightning talks highlighting why creative participation opportunities matter to care and justice experienced young people. it will also look at how they can be a vehicle for change which both protects and amplifies the voices of young people. Sign up here.
Co-production at its finest: tune in to our latest podcast
Youth Just Us members Ashley and Chris have recorded a podcast along with Emily Beever at No Knives Better Lives to share what it was like to co-produce Nae Danger – listen in here.
Celebrating an anniversary – and a new logo (April 2021)
It’s been two years since the Youth Justice Voices project began – and we have come a long way since then! To celebrate this occasion, we’ve revealed our logo to the world – developed in close consultation with Youth Just Us. Ruth Kerracher reflects back on the highlights of Youth Just Us in this blog – in addition to writing an article for Staf highlighting the importance of youth work. Thank you to everyone who’s supported us on our journey so far!
Co-producing rights-based guidance (March 2021)
Youth Justice Voices is leading on a six month project with CYCJ and Staf which will result in the co-production of guidance on the Whole Systems Approach and legal rights for children in conflict with the law. We are delighted to welcome Dale, Marie and Jason as Youth Justice Project Support Workers within Youth Justice Voices. Find out more – and how you can get involved – in Ross Gibson’s blog.
YJV is commended by the Howard League for Penal Reform (October 2020)
We are delighted to 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.
YJV newsletter – now out (June 2020)
The very first edition of the Youth Justice Voices newsletter – created by young people for young people – was 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.
Participation Practitioners’ Forum: May 27 (FREE)
Join participation peers and Youth Just Us members to discuss all things participation, trouble shoot any issues and share best practice at this online event. Sign up here. Please share with your contacts.
Pictured below: members of Youth Just Us with Maree Todd