A transformative new model of working with young people in the justice system will be rolled out across Greater Manchester from today.

The Greater Manchester Youth Justice University Partnership (GMYJUP) is to launch the Participatory Youth Practice Framework, which has been developed in collaboration with young people themselves based on their lived experiences within the youth justice system.

The framework developed by academics from Manchester Metropolitan University, is based on eight principles, each based on young people’s views and supported by academic evidence.

The principles are:
1. Let them participate
2. Always unpick why
3. Acknowledge limited life chances
4. Try to avoid threats and sanctions
5. Help problem solve
6. Help them find better options
7. Develop their ambitions
8. Remember that ultimately, it’s their choice

Professor Hannah Smithson, Professor of Criminology and Head of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, said:

“Children and young people in conflict with the law tend to be some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in society and are very rarely given a voice in the decisions made about them. Our pioneering new Participatory Youth Justice Framework means young people’s voices will be heard in the youth justice system in Greater Manchester.

“It is a positive new approach which takes account of the difficult circumstances in which a lot of young people find themselves in, believes in their ability to change, and supports them into breaking free of the cycle of offending and re-offending.

“Our approach is supported by the Youth Justice Board, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the framework itself will be best practice in Greater Manchester going forward.”

The framework is the culmination of a unique two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, headed by the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, also involving the ten Youth Justice Services in Greater Manchester and the Youth Justice Board.

This groundbreaking partnership facilitated the transfer of knowledge from criminologists at Manchester Metropolitan into professional practice, and vice versa, allowing Greater Manchester to become a beacon for innovation in the youth justice system.

The £120,000 project has been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Economic & Social Research Council and the ten Youth Justice Services in the Greater Manchester region.


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