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21 December 2021

With You delivers new scheme to help divert young people from the criminal justice system

With You trials new approach to supporting young people in possession of drugs in Cornwall, Kent, Lancashire and Sefton

The new project 'Re-Frame' is funded by The Youth Endowment Fund and aims to reduce the criminalisation of children by diverting them from the criminal justice system. When arrested for possession of a Class B or C substance, the young person will have the option to join the diversion scheme and if they engage, avoid criminal prosecution. With You was awarded the £631,000-grant in October this year.

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Encourage the view of drug use as a health and social rather than criminal justice issue
  • Promote early intervention, to offer support rather than punishment to vulnerable young people
  • Connect young people with a trained drug and alcohol worker for restorative sessions

Agnes Wootton, Re-Frame Service Manager at With You, said:

“Criminalisation of, in particular, young people is detrimental to the individual—it increases re-offending and is costly to society. Re-Frame will ensure children are given an opportunity to avoid this pathway through education and support. Our colleagues at the University of Kent, will be evaluating our work through a randomised control trial, the gold standard of evaluation. This will increase the sector’s confidence in understanding what works and ensure delivery of diversion projects is of the highest standard to protect and support children.”

Jon Yates, Executive Director of the Youth Endowment Fund said:

“The Youth Endowment Fund exists to reduce violence. We’re delighted to be working with Re-Frame. By working together, we can find how to support children who desperately need help at critical moments, whether after an arrest or if things start to go wrong at school. This work is also being evaluated by the University of Kent. This means that Re-Frame will help us learn more about permanently reducing violence in this country. Together, we can make things better for young people.”