We work with children and young people aged 10–18 years old to prevent offending and re-offending.

What is the Youth Offending Service?

A diverse group of professional working people

The Youth Offending team is made up of a number of professionals from different agencies, who work together to prevent children and young people from entering the youth justice system for the first time, supporting them to move away from offending. They can also help them understand the effects offending behaviour can have on others and themselves.

The team includes:

  • Adviza Worker
  • Caseworkers
  • Parenting worker
  • Police officer
  • Probation worker
  • Psychologist from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
  • Social workers
  • Speech and language therapist
  • Restorative Justice Workers
  • Rapid English Worker

Read our Reading Youth Justice Plan 20-21.

We get involved if a young person:

  • Has come to the attention of police or is arrested
  • Is charged with a crime and has to go to court
  • Is convicted of a crime and given a sentence
  • Is referred from Children’s Social Care.

What we do

We will carry out an assessment usually at the beginning when we first meet a young person. The assessment helps us understand what has led to the young person getting into trouble, committing crimes, and the risk they pose to themselves or others.

We do the assessment by talking to the young person but will also contact other people involved in their lives, including parents/carers, school, social services and health professionals such as CAMHS. We will also talk to the victim of the offence where possible.

What happens when a young person gets into trouble?

When a young person gets into trouble they can be responded to in different ways. This decision will be made by the police and courts but will depend on the nature of the offence and the young person’s understanding of their behaviour.

The following is a list of some outcomes that could happen after a young person commits an offence.

If a young person commits their first or second minor offence, and has not been to court before, the police may consider giving them a Youth Restorative Disposal, and young people may be given the opportunity to work with the YOS.

A Youth Caution is a verbal warning given by a police officer to a young person who admits they are guilty of a first offence, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Young people may be given an opportunity to work with us at YOS.

A Youth Conditional Caution is for a more serious first offence or for a subsequent offence. It’s a caution but with conditions attached to it that the young person must comply with. They will also be referred to us at the YOS.

The Referral Order is normally the first order a young person can have at Court, if they need to plead guilty to an offence. They will work with us at YOS. The minimum is three months to a maximum of a year.

A Youth Rehabilitation Order will contain one or more requirements, which will usually include working with the YOS and also other activities, such as unpaid work, a curfew or ordered to live in a certain place.

A Detention and Training Order is a prison sentence and will be for serious crimes or for those young people that cannot comply with their community order. Young people can be sentenced to a youth offenders institute, a secure children’s home or a secure training centre.

A section 91 is for very serious offences. This is a sentence used in Crown Court.

Going to court

When a young person goes to court they will need a parent or carer to attend with them and a solicitor to represent them. When a young person is at court we will be there too.

There are three types of courts a young person could appear at:

  • Reading Youth Court – this is just by the Police station, it is a closed court to the public
  • Reading Magistrates Court – this is in the same place as the Youth Court
  • Reading Crown Court – This is near the Forbury Gardens. It is an open court unless the Judge declares otherwise

How we work with young people on orders and cautions

We will help with:
  • Education, employment and training
  • Understanding the harm and helping young people repair the harm
  • Reparation – paying back for the harm the young person has caused
  • Drugs and alcohol work
  • Offending behaviour work
  • Communication support
  • Support from CAMHS worker
  • Speech and language support
  • Literacy and numeracy sessions

We help young people recognise offending behaviour and understand the consequences, while also helping them address any difficulties in their life so they do not offend again.

We are based at 16 North Street in Reading (RG1 7DA) and can be contacted on 0118 937 2420 or by email below.

Email Reading YOS
Man explaining to teenage boy who is writing notes