Every local authority has a duty under s. 37 CDA 1998 to work towards the reduction of crime and disorder, with an explicit emphasis on preventing offending by children and young people. This is echoed in the YJB’s National Standards for Youth Justice Services (2013a) with National Standard 1: ‘Preventing Offending’ stipulating that local strategies and services are established to prevent children and young people from becoming involved in crime and/or anti-social behaviour, and to support their parents/carers and families. The use of preventative and diversionary measures is emphasized by the UNCRC 1989, recognizing that such measures can be cost effective by avoiding the need for full judicial proceedings, reducing stigmatization, and having beneficial outcomes for children. However, such programmes must ensure that children’s rights and safeguards are fully respected. For example, individual orders should only be used where there is convincing evidence that the child is involved in or has been clearly identified as being at risk of involvement in offending or anti-social behaviour, where they acknowledge responsibility and give consent, and where the acknowledgment will not be used against them in any subsequent legal proceedings.
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