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County Durham Youth Justice Service (CDYJS)

We work with young people and partner agencies to prevent re-offending.

CDYJS is accountable to a multi-agency management board. Members include:

We identify risk factors in young people's lives which make it more likely they will re-offend and put interventions in place to reduce the risks and prevent re-offending. This is done with young people who appear before the courts and with young people on pre-court programmes and out of court disposals.

Pre Court programmes

We work with children and young people aged 10 to 17 years old, who are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social or offending behaviour. We primarily work with young people who are:

  • known to the police, anti-social behaviour officers or housing providers
  • in receipt of warning letters for their behaviour from police/housing/council
  • being considered for an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) or currently on one

Out of Court Disposals

We work with young people aged 10 to 17 years old who have committed a criminal offence and are in receipt of a Pre Caution Disposal, Youth Caution or Youth Conditional Caution to prevent re-offending.


CDYJS have representatives in Youth Court and Crown Court (when required) to inform young people and parents/carers of what's involved if they receive a sentence. We make assessments on suitability for bail and remand, present reports and inform the court of the progress of young people on orders. We also present information on breaches of court orders.

Statutory Court Orders

We work with young people on community disposals and custodial sentences, ensuring the sentence of the court is served. As we incorporate representatives from a wide range of services, we can respond comprehensively to the needs of young people who offend.

How we prevent offending and re-offending

We identify the needs of each young person by assessing them with a Youth Justice Board nationally recognised assessment tool called Asset. This helps to identify specific risk factors that contribute to young people offending; the risk they pose to others; safeguarding issues and protective factors which can help to prevent them reoffending. We also assess the speech, language and communication needs of the young person. This enables us to plan suitable programmes and interventions to address the needs of the young person with the intention of preventing further offending.

Interventions offered to those subject to community programmes or sentences can include restorative justice (for example, conferences and mediation or community reparation); referrals to specialist support; support with education, training or employment; health support; family support; substance misuse; specific offence focussed interventions; victim awareness work; exploring volunteering opportunities and promoting engagement in constructive leisure activities. This list is not exhaustive.

When young people are serving a custodial sentence, we work closely with the secure establishment and partner agencies to ensure effective sentence planning and a focus on resettlement from the start of the custodial sentence. Planning incorporates an emphasis on:

  • Education, training and employment
  • Offending behaviour work
  • Suitable accommodation on release
  • Health and mental health provision
  • Provision of support for dealing with finances, debts and benefits
  • Engaging with parents and carers
  • Managing risk issues in relation to victims
  • Managing any risk of serious harm to others

Victims and Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice (RJ) provides opportunities for those directly affected by an offence (victim, offender, and members of the community) to communicate through a restorative process and agree how to deal with the offence and its consequences. The basic principles include:

  • Putting things right and healing relationships, thereby giving high satisfaction to victims and reducing re-offending
  • Ensuring that those directly affected by crime are involved in the process and that their wishes are given careful consideration
  • Achieving positive outcomes for the victim, community and young person

We have two dedicated Victim Liaison Officers who contact victims of crime to offer them the opportunity to participate in a restorative process or even just to keep them informed as to the young person's progress.


Volunteers are an essential part of delivery of County Durham Youth Justice Service. Volunteers work alongside professional staff to help to reduce crime and contribute to working with young people and making a difference to their lives. It also creates a positive link between the community and these young people.

Volunteer roles include being a member of a Community Referral Order Panel which allows young people to speak for themselves, and take responsibility for their actions through a restorative approach; acting as a Family Volunteer as part of Stronger Families; being a mentor for young people who have offended and victims of crime; acting as an Appropriate Adult, providing support and a positive role model; or involvement in constructive leisure activities which provide young people with ways to fill their time in a positive manner.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer please, contact us.

ClearCut Communication

ClearCut Communication is part of County Durham Youth Justice Service (CDYJS). We combine the skills of a Speech and Language Therapist with youth justice expertise. We create communication friendly resources, and can offer training to make youth justice meaningful to young people. We produce a  ClearCut Communication resources catalogue 2022 (PDF) [767KB] . Contact us for an order form.

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