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Making Justice Work Experiences of criminal justice for children and young people victimised through sexual exploitation Dr Camille Warrington.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Justice Work Experiences of criminal justice for children and young people victimised through sexual exploitation Dr Camille Warrington."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Justice Work Experiences of criminal justice for children and young people victimised through sexual exploitation Dr Camille Warrington

2 1.Rationale : why this project, at this time? 2.Methodology: how we did it? 3.Key Findings: what we learnt 4.Next Steps: what next? Making Justice Work: Overview

3 ? 1. Rationale – why this project

4 A response to priorities identified by young service users engaged in our research “People don’t go to the police because when you got to the police it makes the situation 150 times worse. You have to go through it again and again.” ‘What Works for Us’ Group in CEOP, 2011 Rationale

5 2. Methodology – how we did it i.Key principles ii.Project set up iii.Data gathering iv.Analysis and write up

6 Key principles Prioritising best interests of children and young people Informed by participatory practice In partnership with practitioners Exploring criminal justice process as a journey Focusing on opportunities for change Methodology i

7 Project Set Up Ethics and Advisory group Developing partnerships with specialist services Methodology ii

8 Data Gathering Literature and policy review Participatory workshops with young service users Focus groups with local frontline practitioners Focus groups with national policy professionals Methodology iii

9 Analysis and write up Thematic analysis of data ‘Cross checking’ with young service users Report writing Methodology iv

10 3. Findings – what we learnt i.Process and procedures ii.Experience of young people

11 All too often - absence of empathy and humanity o Investigative /prosecution needs prioritised over victim welfare needs (Interdependence goes unrecognised) o Failure to understand possible impact of abuse on young people and their behaviour o Needs of most vulnerable victims most likely to be overlooked The process – professional attitudes

12 “She [the police officer] tried to blame my upbringing for the people that I was associating with..she kind of like blamed me for what had happened” (young person) The process – professional attitudes

13 Young people’s journey characterised by o Absence of regular, timely communication o A lack of clarity – jargon and misinformation o A failure to explain why things happen (as well as what and when) o Changing and inconsistent points of contact o A failure to prepare young people for what comes next The process – poor communication

14 “I didn’t get talked to about the jury. I didn’t know what a jury was back then. I didn’t ask about a jury, but nobody told me. I didn’t know what they were or what they would do.” (young person) “Sometimes you have to keep retelling your story over and over again to different police officers” (young person) The process – poor communication

15 Majority of young people’s ‘big asks’ feasible within current policy and guidance context o Current guidance and policy inconsistently applied o Good practice dependent on individual’s knowledge and commitment - unsustainable and inconsistent o Clear need for advocacy role – though not panacea The process – failure to implement policy and guidance

16 “An ABE will be one of the most difficult things a young person has done, having to share so much detail. If you look at the guidance, things that are in place that aren’t offered” (professional)

17 Extensive support needs of young people going unmet: o Advocacy (throughout process and beyond) o Therapeutic support (pre-trial and beyond) o Post court (or NFA) support o Needs of witnesses The process – unmet support needs

18 “I didn’t know what was coming really till I got there, it was just a massive shock. I didn’t know anything about court. I just knew I had to go somewhere or I’d be arrested.” (young person) “Some of these children are absolutely on their knees they’re so traumatised, and to stop them from having therapy for at least a year while something goes to prosecution – that’s wrong” (professional) The process – unmet support needs

19 Process described by young people as: o ‘Disempowering’: loss of control experienced throughout the system o ‘Isolating’: Lack of opportunities to talk about and process experiences; isolation from peers and school; potential access to internet and phones o ‘Stigmatising’: linked to lack of confidence in professionals and process to maintain anonymity; exposed to stigma from peers, community and professionals YP’s experiences – Loss of control

20 “I was basically a puppet. When they wanted me, I had to do it. When they didn’t want me, I heard nothing” (young person) Young people’s experiences

21 Engagement with the criminal justice system exposes young people to significant risks to wellbeing – including: o Guilt and self blame Particularly around impact on families and carers; falsely assume responsibility for their victimisation o Anxiety: about process and risks from perpetrators o Depression o Physical safety – threats from perpetrators and their networks YP experiences – risk to wellbeing

22 “You feel really stupid. You feel like its your fault, this burden you’re putting on everyone, you feeling like you’re stressing everyone out and you feel like it’s your fault” (young person) “I felt worthless, insecure and angry” (young person) Young people’s experiences

23 Absence of sense of justice from engagement in the system. Particularly in cases where o NFA (‘no further action’ decisions by police or CPS) o Where charges reduced or dropped (usually without consultation with young people) o Where different victims in multiple victim cases receive differential treatment and outcomes o Or where sentences not felt by young people to reflect severity of crime YP’s experiences – lack of justice

24 “You go through all this - having to relive what happened, through your interviews, for them to turn around and say ‘nah, we’re not going to take it any further. Devastating – it is devastating.” (young person) Young people’s experiences

25 1.What are the barriers to implementing policy and good practice guidance in this area and how can we overcome these? 2.What does effective support for young people who are victims or witnesses in CSE cases look like? Discussion points

26 web Contact


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