National spotlight on pioneering Problem Solving Court

Published Thursday 18 May 2017 at 13:52

An award-winning service for young people in Blackburn and Darwen has been highlighted as one of the best in the country.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Youth Justice Service is one of the first in the UK to trial a problem-solving approach for young offenders and is being held up as best practice for other schemes across the country.

It is a partnership project between Blackburn with Darwen Youth Justice Service and Blackburn Magistrates’ Court, and works to make sure young offenders get extra support and advice when in court that will hopefully mean they will not re-offend and have to appear in court again.

The initiative won the Children and Young people Now Youth Justice award in 2016, and has now been hailed by youth workers as one of the leading youth justice schemes in the country, and is the focus of a special profile in the prestigious Children and Young People Now (CYP) magazine.

Blackburn with Darwen Problem Solving Court (PSC) has played a big part in bringing down re-offending rates, with 83% of young people successfully completing their sentence without re-offending up to January 2017.

This is a rise of 70% per cent from the start of the programme in September 2014.

The focus is early intervention to prevent further offending and give early help and support through a multi-agency approach.

The PSC works alongside partners GO2, the local substance misuse project, Nightsafe, which supports young people with accommodation needs, the Supporting Families Project, which is for those parents who are unemployed, with children displaying anti- social behaviour, problems with school attendance and displaying offending behaviour and New Directions to support young people back into education, training or employment.

There is also the Fast 4wd Project which supports those adults experiencing problems with alcohol or substance misuse, and the Carer’s Service for partners, parents, family members affected by another person’s addiction

Young people gave their opinions on the court facilities and the support on offer, which led to changes including a dedicated space for the young people, a vending machine was installed and the young people designed the posters in the area explaining the court process and what to do once you are there.

David Fleming, Service Leader for Youth Justice, said:

All the partners and teams involved in the Blackburn with Darwen Problem Solving Court deserve all the recognition the programme is getting nationally. They have all worked incredibly hard to make this a success for the young people involved and make a difference to their lives.

To be named as a leading light nationally reflects work and support from our staff and volunteers and the young people to change their situations, and it is an acknowledgement of their dedication.”


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