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A Social Harm Perspective

For many children and young people, Britain is a harmful society in which to grow up. This book contextualises the violence that occurs between a small number of young people within a wider perspective on social harm.

Aimed at academics, youth workers and policymakers, the book presents a new way to make sense of this pressing social problem. The authors also propose measures to substantially improve the lives of Britain’s young people – in areas ranging from the early years, to youth services and the criminal justice system.

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Women and ‘Prevent’
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The UK’s ‘Prevent’ strategy aims to dissuade vulnerable groups from supporting terrorism, and women have been involved since its inception in 2006. Sam Andrews argues that women are still viewed within a traditional gendered framework as primarily peaceful and are mostly engaged as mothers, enlisted by Prevent to watch over and guide their families and communities.

Drawing on interviews and case studies, this book reveals how Prevent goes beyond simple counter-terrorism messaging to fund a diverse array of projects, from support for victims of domestic violence to parenting courses, shaping wider engagement with women in society.

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Continuity and Change

In Glasgow, street gangs have existed for decades, with knife crime becoming a defining feature.

More than a decade on from Deuchar’s original fieldwork, this book explores the transitional experiences of some of the young men he worked with, as well as the experiences of today’s young people and the practitioners who work to support them.

Through empirical data, policy analysis and contemporary insights, this dynamic book explores the evolving nature of gangs, and the contemporary challenges affecting young people including drug distribution, football-related bigotry and the mental health repercussions emerging from social media.

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A Model for International Reform

The UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty detailed many children’s poor experiences in detention, highlighting the urgent need for reform.

Applying a child-centred model of detention that fulfils the rights of the child under the five themes of provision, protection, participation, preparation and partnership, this original book illustrates how reform can happen. Drawing on Ireland’s experience of transforming law, policy and practice, and combining theory with real-life experiences, this compelling book demonstrates how children’s rights can be implemented in detention.

This important case study of reform presents a powerful argument for a progressive, rights-based approach to child detention. Worthy of international application, the book shares practical insights into how theory can be translated into practice.

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Experiences, Identities and Pathways into Crime
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In recent years there has been significant negative attention towards young British male Muslims, who are perceived to be increasingly dangerous and criminal. However, very little is known about those who offend, as few studies have attempted to understand their lived experience.

After spending four years with a group of young British Pakistani Muslim men who were involved in a range of offending behaviours, Qasim gained unique first-hand insight into their multifaceted lives. In this book he unwraps their lives, taking into account their socio-economic situation, the make-up of their community, cultural and religious influences which impacted on them and their involvement in crime. He explores their identities and explains what role, if any, religion and Pakistani culture play in their criminal behaviour.

With a focus on the apparent link with gun crime and drug dealing, this important book exposes the complex nature of the young men’s pathways into crime.

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Policy, prevention and policing
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This book aims to challenge current thinking about serious youth violence and gangs, and their racialisation by the media and the police. Written by an expert with over 14 years’ experience in the field, it brings together research, theory and practice to influence policy. Placing gangs and urban violence in a broader social and political economic context, it argues that government-led policy and associated funding for anti-gangs work is counter-productive. It highlights how the street gang label is unfairly linked by both the news-media and police to black (and urban) youth street-based lifestyles/cultures and friendship groups, leading to the further criminalisation of innocent black youth via police targeting. The book is primarily aimed at practitioners, policy makers, academics as well as those community-minded individuals concerned about youth violence and social justice.

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Children First, Offenders Second
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This topical, accessibly written book moves beyond established critiques to outline a model of positive youth justice: Children First, Offenders Second. Already in use in Wales, the proposed model promotes child-friendly, diversionary, inclusive, engaging, promotional practice and legitimate partnership between children and adults which can serve as a blueprint for other local authorities and countries. Setting out a progressive, positive and principled model of youth justice, the book will appeal to academics, students, practitioners and policy makers seeking to improve working practices and outcomes and will make an important contribution to the debate on youth justice policy.

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Is early intervention working?

The 2008 UK government Youth Crime Action Plan emphasises prevention and early intervention in different aspects of work with young people who offend or are considered to be ‘at risk’ of offending. Much of this approach includes targeted work with families and work to reduce the numbers of young people entering the youth justice system.

This report takes a critical look at early intervention policies. Through contributions from leading experts on youth work and criminal justice it considers the development of integrated and targeted youth support services and the implications for practice of early intervention policies; analyses the causes of serious violent crime through consideration of issues that address gangs and guns; provides an evaluation of the government’s early intervention strategy through the examination of its Sure Start programme and other family initiatives; identifies the psychobiological effects of violence on children and links them to problem behaviour; considers the impacts of family intervention projects and parenting work and compares approaches to early intervention across different jurisdictions and examines the lessons for practice in England and Wales.

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Alongside the current media public preoccupation with high-risk offenders, there has been a shift towards a greater focus on risk and public protection in UK criminal justice policy. Much of the academic debate has centered on the impact of the risk paradigm on adult offender management services; less attention has been given to the arena of youth justice and young adults. Yet, there are critical questions for both theory - are the principles of risk management the same when working with young people? - and practice - how can practitioners respond to those young people who cause serious harm to others? - that need to be considered.

The distinguished contributors to “Young people and ‘risk’" consider risk not only in terms of public protection but also in terms of young people’s own vulnerability to being harmed (either by others or through self-inflicted behaviour). One of the report’s key objectives is to explore the links between these two distinct, but related, aspects of risk.

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It is a key aim of current youth justice policy to introduce principles of restorative justice and involve victims in responses to crime. This is most evident in the referral order and youth offender panels established by the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. However, the challenges involved in delivering a form of restorative youth justice that is sensitive to the needs of victims are considerable.

This report provides an illuminating evaluation of the manner in which one Youth Offending Service sought to integrate victims into the referral order process. The study affords in-depth insights into the experiences and views of victims and young people who attended youth offender panel meetings. It places these in the context of recent policy debates and principles of restorative justice.

The report tracks a 6 month cohort of cases in 2004; provides an analysis of in-depth interviews with victims, young offenders and their parents; highlights the challenges associated with integrating victims into restorative youth justice; offers recommendations with regard to the involvement of victims in referral orders.

This timely report will be of great value to youth justice policy-makers and practitioners, researchers and students of criminology and criminal justice, as well as all those interested in restorative interventions and the role of victims in the justice process.

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