The centre is concerned with the social rights of young people; the impact of poverty on children and young people and young people’s involvement in informal or illicit economic activity – in particular their involvement in drug and sex markets.

Recent Submissions

  • Hard times: young people’s and young parents’ experiences of living through poverty in Luton

    Melrose, Margaret; Waqar, Muhammad; Randhawa, Gurch (University of Bedfordshire, 2011-03)
    This research report is primarily concerned with the experiences of young people (16-24 years) and young parents bringing up children within the context of poverty in Luton. It is divided into three sections. Part One provides a general overview of poverty research in the UK. Part Two presents the findings from the study of young people and young parents’ experiences of poverty in Luton. Part Three discusses the implications of the findings presented and recommendations that arise from them. The overview of research presented in part one of this report is organised under the following headings: measures of poverty commonly adopted in UK poverty research; the extent of poverty in the UK including a short discussion of gender and ethnicity; attitudes to poverty amongst the general public; the impacts of poverty on children and families; poverty amongst young people; parenting in poverty; patterns of poverty. Part two of the report provides a brief description of the methodology adopted for this study and the sample amongst whom the research was conducted. Key findings are then summarised. Following this a thematic analysis of interview data is presented. This covers the following themes: how participants defined poverty; how participants explained poverty; the images of ‘poor people’ participants employed; whether participants considered they or their families were poor; participants’ descriptions of living through poverty; what participants thought the Local Authority should do to tackle poverty. Part three presents a discussion of the implications of the findings from this study and the recommendations that arise from them.
  • Fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people : creating a family life across a “world of difference"

    Wade, Jim; Sirriyeh, Ala; Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Simmonds, John (British Association for Adoption & Fostering, 2012)
    Unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people form a small but significant part of the UK looked after children population. Their circumstances and needs are complex and as a group they require careful and sensitive assessment, planning and placement. Foster carers are at the heart of this task, providing family care against a background of uncertainty, anxiety and potential risk. How do the young people and foster carers build relationships? How do local authorities address the challenge of caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people? And do their actions result in successful integration into UK society of these young people, or continuing problems? This research study details and examines the results of a census survey of four local authorities, collectively looking after over 2000 unaccompanied young people. Postal surveys and interviews were undertaken with a number of foster carers and young people to identify their experiences in placements, and a policy and practice study included focus groups to gather the views of social workers, young people and key stakeholders. The results of this extensive study reveal ongoing changes in the way in which unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people are looked after and the main features of the fostering task, insights into how young people and foster carers felt about their placements, and key implications for policy and practice.
  • Evaluation of an intensive family preservation service for families affected by parental substance misuse

    Forrester, Donald; Copello, Alex; Waissbein, Clara; Pokhrel, Subhash; University of Bedfordshire; University of Birmingham; Brunel University (Wiley, 2008-11)
    Parental misuse of drugs or alcohol is recognised to be an issue for a high proportion of families to known social services, and for many children who enter care. However, there is limited research on what is effective in working with such families. This article reports on an evaluation of an Intensive Family Preservation Service (named ‘Option 2’) aimed at families in which parents misuse substances and children are considered at risk of entering care. The study used mixed methods. A quasi-experimental element compared solely data relating to care entry (e.g. how long children spent in care and its cost) for Option 2 children (n = 279) and a comparison group of referrals not provided with the service (n = 89) on average 3.5 years after referral. It found that about 40 per cent of children in both groups entered care, however Option 2 children took longer to enter, spent less time in care and were more likely to be at home at follow-up. As a result, Option 2 produced significant cost savings. A small-scale qualitative element of the study involved interviews with 11 parents and seven children in eight families. The findings suggested that Option 2 was a highly professional and appreciated service. For some families it achieved permanent change. For others, particularly those with complex and long-standing problems, significant positive changes were not sustained. The implications for services designed to prevent public care, particularly where there are substance misuse issues, are discussed and recommendations for policy and evaluation made.
  • Adolescents' experiences of the right to play and leisure in Northern Ireland

    Beckett, Helen (Taylor & Francis, 2010-07)
    Under Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child under the age of 18 has the right to engage in age-appropriate play and leisure activities. Drawing on the qualitative findings of a wider review of children's rights in Northern Ireland, this article examines the degree to which adolescents in Northern Ireland are currently able to enjoy this right. The data presented in the article are primarily based on the views of young people, as expressed in focus group discussions with their peers, although this is at times contextualised by the contributions of adult participants and the findings of an in-depth policy and literature review. The article argues that young people's right to play and leisure is not currently adequately recognised within Northern Ireland, noting the impact of the increasing demonisation and marginalisation of youth upon both this and their accompanying right to protection. The article concludes with a consideration of the potential implications of the current failure to afford young people adequate and appropriate play and leisure opportunities, calling on the State party to urgently deliver on the commitments it made in ratifying the Convention.
  • Effective practice with young people who offend

    Bateman, Tim; Nacro (Nacro, 1999)
    Recent debate about how to intervene with young people who offend has increasingly focused on what constitutes effective practice. Such practice has been defined by HM Inspectorate of Probation as that which produces the intended results 1 and most contributors to the debate have assumed that the desired outcome to which effective practice should aspire is the reduction of offending. Section 37 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 places a duty on all those working within the youth justice system to have regard to a principal aim of preventing offending by children and young people and, by implication, to ensure that interventions within that system are informed by an evidence base as to what is effective in these terms.
  • Editorial

    Bateman, Tim; Fox, Chris (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, 2011)
  • Editorial

    Bateman, Tim; Fox, Chris (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011)
  • Editorial

    Bateman, Tim; Pitts, John; University of Bedfordshire; Vauxhall Centre for the Study of Crime, University of Bedfordshire (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011)
  • Payment by results and the youth justice system: an NAYJ position paper

    Bateman, Tim; National Association for Youth Justice (National Association for Youth Justice, 2011-07)
    The coalition government has given notice of a ‘rehabilitation revolution’. At the heart of the proposals is a commitment to the widescale introduction of ‘payment by results’ (PBR) that will inform ‘all work on offending’, including that with children below the age of 18 years. The government argues that such an approach will deliver a range of benefits, but the rationale is largely rhetorical with few arguments of substance adduced in support. The NAYJ is concerned that the rapid introduction of a new, largely ideologically driven, model of service delivery for children in trouble that emphasises market mechanisms will: encourage a risk averse practice at the expense of interventions intended to enhance the wellbeing of children focus on short term reoffending at the expense of other longer term, developmental, outcomes require that issues of proportionality and children’s rights are sidelined as material rewards come to take priority over matters of principle, and generate a range of unintended consequences without delivering the promised reductions in offending behaviour.
  • Youth justice: on raising the age of criminal responsibility

    Bateman, Tim (, 2011-03-08)
  • Youth justice news

    Bateman, Tim (Sage Publications, 2012-07)
  • Youth justice news

    Bateman, Tim (Sage Publications, 2012-11-13)
    The imposition of curfews in cases involving children below the age of 18 years has become increasingly popular in the recent period. As indicated in Table 1, the number of curfew orders rose from 1293 in 2002/3 to 8367 in 2008/9, the last full year that such a disposal was available as a stand-alone order. Over the same period, curfews as a proportion of all sentences imposed also increased from 1.4 to 7.6 per cent. For offences committed after 30 November 2009, all existing community sentences for children were replaced by the youth rehabilitation order to which a range of requirements − including a curfew − could be attached. Figures for subsequent years are not accordingly available in a comparable format. However, in 2011/12, the total amount paid to contractors providing electronic monitoring services to the Ministry of Justice (in respect of both adults and children) stood at £116.9 million. Of those children sentenced to a curfew order during 2009/10, 67.6 per cent were reconvicted within a year, a recidivism rate higher than that for any other non-custodial youth disposal.
  • Editorial

    Bateman, Tim; Fox, Chris (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012)
  • Keeping up (tough) appearances: the age of criminal responsibility

    Bateman, Tim (Taylor and Francis, 2013-03-22)
    Whatever else may have changed with the election of the coalition government, the new administration shares with its Labour predecessor a resolute opposition to any suggestion that the age of criminal responsibility should be raised from its current ten years of age. Indeed, the similarity of responses, on this issue, either side of the election is striking.
  • Youth justice news

    Bateman, Tim (SAGE, 2013-02)
    round up of news in youth justice compiled by Tim Bateman
  • Editorial

    Bateman, Tim; Smithson, Hannah (Emerald, 2013)
    Safer Communities would like to welcome Hannah Smithson as new co-editor of the journal. Hannah would like to thank Emerald Group Publishing and co-editor, Tim Bateman for inviting her to join the Safer Communities Team. She is very much looking forward to contributing to the journal, in what looks to be a changing and uncertain period within the field of criminal justice and community safety. All of the papers in this issue touch upon the impact of cuts in public spending and the potential affects to the criminal justice system for both those working within it and those individuals it deals with. Safer Communities expects and welcomes more papers focusing on the effects of public spending cuts
  • Resettlement of young people leaving custody: lessons from the literature

    Bateman, Tim; Hazel, Neal; Wright, Sam; University of Salford; University of Bedfordshire; Nacro; ARCS (UK) Ltd (Beyond Youth Custody, 2013-04-15)
    This literature review presents the findings of an analysis of research literature about resettlement services for young people when they leave custody. The review has been produced as part of the Beyond Youth Custody programme funded under the Big Lottery Fund’s Youth in Focus programme.
  • Children in conflict with the law: an overview of trends and developments – 2010/2011

    Bateman, Tim; National Association for Youth Justice (National Association for Youth Justice, 2012)
    The youth justice system is an ever changing landscape. Shifts in legislation, policy and practice generate corresponding transformations in the treatment of children who come to the attention of criminal justice agencies. Substantial variation in responses to youth crime owes little to changes in children’s offending behaviour or to a growing awareness of ‘what works’ (itself a contested issue) 1 but is largely a function of political and financial considerations. The National Association for Youth Justice (NAYJ) believes that an understanding of these changes provides an important contextual base for those who wish to argue for reform of the current arrangements for dealing with children in trouble in favour of a child friendly youth justice system. Such an understanding is also a prerequisite of providing child friendly services within that system.
  • Housing needs and experiences

    Arnull, Elaine; Eagle, Susannah; Gammampila, Alex; Patel, Shilpa L.; Sadler, Jo; Thomas, Sue; Bateman, Tim; Nacro; Middlesex University; Policy & Practice Research Group (Youth Justice Board, 2007)
  • Patterns of sentencing: differential sentencing across England and Wales

    Bateman, Tim; Stanley, Chris; Nacro; Youth Justice Board; British Quality Foundation (NCJRS Publication, 2002)
    This report presents findings from a research study commissioned by the Youth Justice Board to identify the relative seriousness of offenses leading to custody and other high level penalties in a range of areas where differential patterns of custodial sentencing prevailed. Criminal statistics for England and Wales reveal substantial geographic variation in the pattern of youth sentencing. Statistics to the Youth Justice Board (YJB) provides evidence of this variation. This research study, commissioned by the YJB, explored any relationship between the use of high tariff disposal, with a particular emphasis on custodial penalties, and a range of possible influences upon patterns of sentencing. The study specifically investigated the distribution of sentences below the level of custody, case gravity, including the seriousness of current offending and previous convictions, the perceived range and quality of local youth justice services to support court orders short of custody, and the effectiveness of communication between the youth offending team and the court and the exchange of information between agencies involved in the delivery of youth justice. Highlights of key findings on distinguishing characteristics typical of high and low custody areas include for low custody areas: (1) greater use of lower level penalties; (2) lower use of community sentences; (3) greater use of unconditional bail; (4) magistrates express greater confidence in delivery of services; and (5) pre-sentence reports more effective as a mechanism for provision of information. Highlights of key findings for high custody areas include: (1) lower use of lower level penalties; (2) higher use of community penalties; (3) lower average case gravity scores for community sentences; (4) magistrates express reduced confidence in delivery of services; and (5) pre-sentence reports less effective as a mechanism for provision of information. Appendixes 1-5

View more