Teenager/young man looking at notice board

Youth Offending Services (YOS)

We work with young people aged 10–18 years old that have got into trouble with the police or are in danger of getting into trouble.

Our team

Our team is made up of a number of professionals from different backgrounds and agencies. We have:

  • 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

We work together to try and keep young people out of trouble and also help them make up for the harm they have caused.

When we get involved

We will get involved if a young person:

  • Gets into trouble with the Police or is arrested
  • Is charged with a crime and has to go to court
  • Is convicted of a crime and given a sentence
  • Or 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, like parents, school, social services and health professionals like CAMHS. We 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 dealt with in different ways. This decision will be made by the Police and Courts but will depend on the nature of the offence and what the young person has to say about what happened.

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

Youth Restorative Disposal

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.

Youth Caution

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.

Youth Conditional Caution

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 do. Young people will be referred to us at the YOS.

Referral Order for up to 1 year

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 3 months to a maximum of a year.

Youth Rehabilitation Order for up to 3 years

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.

Detention and Training Order – prison for up to 2 years

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 childrens home or a secure training centre.

Section 91 – prison for more than 2 years

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 make up for what they have done and then help put their life back on track 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 and at Reading.YOS@BrighterFuturesforChildren.org

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