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Youth offending

Orders given by the court

Referral Orders

If you are given a Referral Order this aims to stop you re-offending by ensuring that you are aware of the impact and consequences of your criminal behaviour. Referral Orders take into account the wishes and feelings of the victims of crime.

Referral Orders give you a second chance of a non criminal future, as the sentence is 'spent ' at the end of the order, as long as you have kept to the terms of their contract.

Referral Orders last from 3 months to 12 months. You will appear before a Referral Order Panel accompanied by your parent/carer.

Referral Order Panel meetings involve specially trained volunteer panel members, a Youth Offending Service (YOS) Officer and sometimes the victim will also attend. A contract of reparation (payback) to the victim will be agreed and a programme of work to address offending behaviour.

What is in a Referral Order Contract?

You will be required to undertake Interventions which may involve mediation with the victim. The victim will be given the opportunity to ask you to do some work, either for themselves or the community as 'payback' for the offence. This 'payback' is known as Reparation.

The reparation may involve you writing a letter of apology and/or taking part in several hours of practical activity which benefit the victim.

Where the victim does not want direct reparation, then reparation will be made to the community at large. This is known as indirect reparation. This will involve some activity or series of activities carried out for the benefit of the community.

There will be some specific offence focused work, victim awareness sessions and positive activities included in the contract.

Restorative Justice

Types of work with restorative justice:

Victim/Offender mediation: This involves you meeting the victim to explain your actions and to apologise. It helps the victim to explain the problems it caused and hopefully reduce the fear of it happening again.

Direct Reparation: This may involve you writing a letter of apology to the victim or carrying out a task at the request of the victim to benefit the victim, local community or a charitable organisation the victim is involved with.

Indirect Reparation: is where the victim does not want direct reparation and may involve some activity or work carried out for the benefit of the community.

All restorative justice activities are supervised by trained staff and specifically trained mediators.


You may be required to meet the victim to make a verbal apology, or to write a letter of apology and take part in several hours of practical activity which benefits the victims of the crime or the community as a whole.

At Sandwell YOS we offer the following forms of community reparation:

  • Creative reparation
  • ECO PARK restoration
  • Leaflet drops
  • Garden clearance

Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO)

A Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) is a sentence which requires you to be supervised by a member of the YOS. Once the order has been made your co-operation and the support of your family are essential if it is to be of use to you.

The purpose of the order is to help you to do what is necessary to stop offending and to protect the public from harm. You will also be expected to consider the effect the crime has on its victims and make amends for your behaviour.

What you will have to do

The Order can be made for up to two years. If you make good progress, you or your YOS Officer can ask the Court to end the Order early. The Court is unlikely to agree to this unless you have completed at least half the sentence satisfactorily, and provided you have not committed another offence.

Your order will be organised by your Supervising Officer and a plan will be produced. You and your parent/ carer will be asked to review this plan with your YOS Officer every three months.

Rules of a Youth Rehabilitation Order

To comply with your YRO you must:

  • Notify any change of address
  • Attend when required
  • Arrive on time for appointments
  • Comply with any reasonable directions
  • Comply with all requirements of your order

You should note that during the order, the following behaviour is prohibited:

  • Attending while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Fighting, aggressive behaviour or threats of violence
  • Other conduct/ language that may offend YOS staff, other persons under supervision or members of the public
  • Other persistent non co-operation or behaviour, designed to prevent progress of your or others' orders

Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (ISS)

Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (ISS) is the most rigorous, non custodial intervention available for young people. It combines community-based surveillance with a comprehensive focus on tackling the factors that contribute to your behaviour.

ISS is available as:

  • a condition of bail where you are at risk of remand into custody
  • a requirement attached to a YRO
  • a condition of a Notice of Supervision on release from custody in high risk cases.

The aims of ISS

ISS is a mixture of punishment and positive opportunities, available 365 days a year. It is designed to:

  • ensure that you make recompense for their offences
  • address the underlying causes of the offending
  • put in place structures that will allow you to avoid offending in the future
  • manage the risks posed by you to the community
  • stabilise a chaotic lifestyle
  • reintegrate you into the community
  • help you lead an independent life free of offending.

How this will be achieved

By providing a structured programme of relevant activities including the five core elements:

  • Offending Behaviour
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Education/Training/Employment
  • Family Support
  • Restorative Justice

Who is ISS is designed for?

ISS is targeted at two main groups of offenders:

  • Prolific young offenders (aged 10-17) who commit approximately a quarter of all offences committed by young people.
  • Those who commit crimes of a very serious nature and who would benefit from an early and intensive intervention.

 Detention and Training Orders

This is a custodial sentence (if you are aged 12-17 years old) when you commit a serious offence, a number of offences, or have consistently failed to comply with community sentences.

What happens in Court?

You will be escorted to police cells and held there before you are taken to the detention and training centre. You will be told the name of the centre you will be going to and where it is.

  • 12-14 year olds will usually go to a Local Authority Secure Unit
  • 15-17 year olds will go to a Young Offender Institution (unless they are considered to be vulnerable e.g. have learning difficulties) 

How long will I be there?

Between four months and two years is the usual length of sentence. You will spend the first half at the detention and training centre. The second half will be supervised by the Youth Offending Service in the community. In some circumstances you may be entitled to earlier release but this would need to be agreed and you may be tagged and receive a curfew.

What about time spent on remand?

Any time that you have spent on remand can be considered by Magistrates or the Judge when assessing the length of sentence.  However they do not have to deduct the exact time spent on remand from your eventual sentence.

Can I appeal against the sentence?

You can appeal via your solicitor - the detention and training centre will give you a special form or letter to send.  You should do this straight away because you only have 21 days to begin an appeal.

The court can give you a:

  • Completely different sentence (perhaps supervision or community service)
  • Shorter sentence
  • Longer sentence

Will I have a worker from my area?

You will see a worker from the YOS regularly. They may be a Probation Officer, a Social Worker or another member of staff from the YOS. Together, you and they will review your progress.  If you are in care, you will still have a Social Worker too.

A few days after you arrive at the centre, there will be a planning meeting to decide on the kind of training you need to help you stop offending.

There will be practical targets set that you will have to meet and there will be regular review meetings.  You and your parents/ carers will be involved. The kind of training might include help with:

  • Controlling your anger
  • Parenting or relationship difficulties
  • Drugs or alcohol misuse
  • Understanding the effect of crime on victims
  • Education or getting into work.

You will be supervised by the YOS right until the end of your sentence. They will help you to carry on the efforts you started at the centre to stay out of trouble.

What about when I get out?

The rules about contact will be strictly applied to give you the help you need to stop offending. If you break the conditions of your supervision you can get a fine or be returned to custody.

If you re-offend during the period of supervision you may be recalled to custody for the rest of the sentence as well as any sentence you receive for the new offence.

Resettlement and Aftercare Programme (SIRS)

SIRS (Sandwell Integrated Resettlement Service) offers support to young people leaving custody. It is a programme which helps young people to develop a positive future and provides post custody support.

By offering intensive, practical help and support, SIRS offers the stability young people need to make a fresh start and stay out of trouble.

Our aim is to:

  • Provide ongoing support for young people in prison or on license
  • Provide support and help with employment and housing issues
  • Help young people to reach their goals and escape the re-offending cycle

Parenting Orders

A Civil Order that requires parents to comply for no more than 12 months that can consist of specific requirements ensuring that young people attend school daily and/ or an evidence based parenting programme. 

The aim of the Parenting Order

  • To prevent offending and reoffending
  • Supports parents to help bring about improvements in the young persons behavior as well as reinforce parental responsibility, through devised intervention packages

Roles and expectations:

The Magistrates will explain clearly the requirements imposed. If a Parent/ Guardian is not present and is subject to these requirements they will be informed by post or in person. A Parenting Worker from Sandwell YOS will work with you for the duration of the Parenting Order and will address all Court requirements and working practices.

What happens if the parent or guardian fails to co-operate?

If the parent or guardian fails to comply with any of the requirements outlined by the Magistrates, the parent worker will attempt to find out the reasons why these requirements have not been met.

The Parenting Worker is responsible for informing the Police of any 'non-compliance' with the Parenting Order and the Police will decide whether or not to prosecute the parent or guardian and a hearing will take place in the Adult Magistrates Court.

The Magistrates are able to impose a fine of up to £1000 for non-compliance with a Parenting Order alongside other Orders or a Community Sentence, e.g. Community Rehabilitation Order.

Pages in "Youth offending"

  1. Youth offending
  2. After arrest
  3. Going to court
  4. Whilst in court
  5. You are here Orders given by the court
  6. Volunteering opportunities