Oxfordshire Youth Justice Service

All about the Oxfordshire Youth Justice Service's work

The OYJS is a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary service overseen by a Management Board chaired by the Deputy Director for Oxfordshire Children’s Services

Members of the Board include representatives from Thames Valley Police, Children’s Social Care, Education Service, National Probation Services, Office of the Police Crime Commissioner, Safe! and NHS Health services.

Plans are progressing for integration of OYJS and Children’s Social Care’s Specialist team for Child Sexual Exploitation to form an OYJS & Exploitation Service in 2020.

What does OYJS do?

The principle aims of the youth justice system are to: •

  • Prevent youth crime
  • Reduce the number of first-time entrants to the system
  • Reduce re-offending
  • Reduce the amount of young people within the youth secure estate
  • Safeguard young people from harm
  • Protect the public from harm
  • Repair the harm caused by youth crime

Information on what happens after an arrest

When a young person is arrested they are usually taken to a police station to be interviewed by the police. When arrested they will be allowed to speak to a solicitor for advice. The solicitor stays with the young person whilst they are interviewed by the police.

When a young person is arrested they must have an appropriate adult, normally a parent or guardian, with them so the police can carry out an interview. If there are no parents or guardians available the OYJS will find an appropriate adult for them. The role of an appropriate adult is to make sure the young person understands what is happening to them and why. To volunteer as an appropriate adult, see our volunteering page.

Young people are seen by a Liaison and Diversion Officer at the police station to see if they have any health and/or social care needs. These include; speech, language and communication needs, substance misuse, mental health problems and learning difficulties. We try to find out if the young person needs any extra support and help find it.

If the young person is charged with a crime the Crown Prosecution Service decides whether to allow them to be released from the police pending further investigation or if they should stay at the police station until the next available court date, which is usually the next working day or a Saturday. If the decision is to hold them the following day, the Police must seek a placement from the Local Authority.

If the young person is brought to youth court by the police OYJS will carry out an assessment on the young person to see if they pose a risk to themselves or others whilst in custody. We will also work with the young person, family and solicitor to provide a bail supervision and support package.

This package could require the young person to attend the OYJS, be on an electronic curfew or attend school. This package should help to stop young people committing any crimes whilst on bail.

The Oxfordshire context

We have over 30 members of regular staff in addition to those seconded to us from the Police, NHS health services, the National Probation Service and students completing relevant qualifications.

We also have a strong team of volunteers who are part of our service and who provide invaluable support to young people we are in contact with. You can read more about this on our volunteering webpage.

The number of offences by young people in Oxfordshire reduced in 2018/19 with a 6% decrease on the previous year. The increase in criminal exploitation of young people has, however, meant that cases are now more complex.