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The Open University

Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime

The Open University via OpenLearn


When children do something wrong, something usually needs to be done. In this free course, Youth justice in the UK: children, young people and crime, you'll explore what happens to children in different parts of the UK when the things they do are labelled as criminal. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and England and Wales different principles guide the systems that respond to children’s problematic behaviour. This course will help you understand those differences and explore their implication for practice.You will also explore topical issues surrounding young people and crime, such as how rates of victimisation and offending vary, with particular reference to the ways age, gender, race and social class shape young people’s experience of crime.Transcript355Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.The Open University would reallyappreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we wouldalso value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.This course is accredited by the CPD Standards Office. It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development and on successful completion of the course you will be awarded 24 CPD points. Evidence of your CPD achievement is provided on the free Statement of Participation awarded on completion.Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.


  • Introduction and guidance
  • Introduction and guidance
  • What is a badged course?
  • How to get a badge
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session1Session 1: Children or criminals?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Child or adult?
  • 2 The age of criminal responsibility
  • 3 What the law says
  • 4 Taking court action
  • 5 A mind to a crime
  • 6 Children talk labels
  • 7 This session’s quiz
  • 8 Summary of Session 1
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session2Session 2: Youth justice in England and Wales
  • Introduction
  • 1 The Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • 2 Getting to know the youth justice system
  • 2.1 Unintended consequences
  • 3 Children in prison
  • 4 Wales makes a difference?
  • 5 Getting smaller, getting smarter?
  • 6 Different paths to youth justice
  • 7 This session’s quiz
  • 8 Summary of Session 2
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session3Session 3: Children’s Hearings in Scotland
  • Introduction
  • 1 An enlightenment idea?
  • 2 Hearing about panels
  • 3 Raising the age
  • 4 Children’s views of Hearings
  • 5 Young people and knife crime: a Scottish approach
  • 6 The language of justice
  • 7 This session’s quiz
  • 8 Summary of Session 3
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session4Session 4: Restorative conferencing in Northern Ireland
  • Introduction
  • 1 What is restorative justice?
  • 2 From rough justice to restorative justice
  • 3 Restorative conferencing with young people in Northern Ireland
  • 4 Youth custody in Northern Ireland
  • 5 The age of criminal responsibility in Northern Ireland
  • 6 Moving on
  • 7 This session’s quiz
  • 8 Summary of Session 4
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session5Session 5: It’s different for girls?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Bad girls?
  • 2 It’s different for girls
  • 3 Girls and the gangs
  • 3.1 A case study: Gina
  • 4 Possibilities, alternatives, changes
  • 5 This session’s quiz
  • 6 Summary of Session 5
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session6Session 6: Race, ethnicity and youth justice
  • Introduction
  • 1 Why race and racism matters
  • 1.1 What about ethnicity?
  • 2 Injustice and youth justice
  • 3 Youth, sub-cultures and resistance
  • 4 New generations, new voices
  • 5 Islamophobia and racism
  • 6 This session’s quiz
  • 7 Summary of Session 6
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session7Session 7: It’s all about class
  • Introduction
  • 1 Poverty and class disadvantage
  • 2 Ghostbusters on the estate – a case study
  • 3 Class: intersections, contexts and convictions
  • 4 Drugs, knives, county lines and fast lanes
  • 5 Changing the questions?
  • 6 Class acts
  • 7 This session’s quiz
  • 8 Summary of Session 7
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Session8Session 8: Youth justice with integrity
  • Introduction
  • 1 Why social and economic justice?
  • 2 Why comprehensive, universal and socially engaging?
  • 3 Diversion
  • 4 Child-appropriate justice
  • 5 Abolishing youth justice, championing children’s rights
  • 5.1 Children’s rights
  • 6 This session’s quiz
  • 7 Summary of Session 8
  • 8 Course conclusion
  • Tell us what you think
  • References
  • Acknowledgements


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