• “Catching them young” – some reflections on the meaning of the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales

      Bateman, Tim (Emerald, 2014-06-30)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the tension between government protestations that youth justice policy is evidence-led and what the evidence implies in the context of the age of criminal responsibility. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a conceptual analysis of government policy and the evidence base. Findings – The paper concludes that the current low age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales can be understood as a manifestation of the influence of underclass theory on successive governments. Research limitations/implications – The paper is not based on primary research. Practical implications – The arguments adduced help to explain the reluctance of government to countenance any increase in the age of criminal responsibility. Social implications – The analysis might help inform approaches adopted by youth justice policy makers, practitioners and academics with an interest in seeking a rise in the age of criminal responsibility. Originality/value – The paper offers an original analysis of government intransigence on an important social issue.
    • Collaborative working in the resettlement of young people leaving custody

      Olaitan, Paul; Pitts, John; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2020-06-17)
      Purpose: This paper aims to endeavour to sketch out a blueprint for effective collaborative working in resettlement. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a review of the relevant research and interviews with professionals concerned with the resettlement of young people from custody in organisations and agencies that were partners in the Beyond Youth Custody programme. Findings: Practitioners working on the youth resettlement pathway between custody and community report collaborative practices to be more beneficial both to the young people involved as well as the practitioners themselves, in the conduct of their efforts. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the originality of this paper consists in its investigation of resettlement practice by consulting those actually engaged in the resettlement process.
    • Drugs, gangs and organised crime

      Pitts, John (Emerald, 2019-04-08)
    • The evolution of the English street gang

      Pitts, John (Emerald, 2019-04-08)
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to consider what the author might call the evolution of the evolutionary argument about gangs and, while acknowledging its explanatory power, suggests that gangs may develop in very different ways depending on the available opportunities, pre-existing forms of criminality in the areas in which gangs emerge and global change. Design/methodology/approach It is based on a review of the relevant literature and interviews with purposive samples of research, criminal justice and social welfare professionals and young people involved in or affected by gang crime. Findings were triangulated with data held by the police and other public authorities. Findings The term “street gang” includes a wide variety of groupings all of which are involved in some form of crime but with differential levels of organisation and commitment to purely instrumental goals. Gangs may form but not necessarily evolve. Gangs appear to develop in very different ways depending on the available opportunities, pre-existing forms of criminality in the areas in which they emerge and global changes in drugs markets.
    • Safe foster care for victims of child sexual exploitation

      Shuker, Lucie; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2015-12-01)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on an evaluation of a pilot of specialist foster care for children at risk, or victims, of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and/or trafficking. Design/methodology/approach – The research adopted a multi-case study approach, gathering placement documentation, interviews and weekly monitoring logs throughout the duration of the 13 placements. Findings – This evaluation found that safety for those at risk, or victims, of CSE within the in-care population has both a physical and a relational element. The most successful placements were able to deploy restrictive safety measures effectively by tipping the balance of care and control towards demonstrations of compassion and acceptance. Good relationships in these foster homes unlocked other positive outcomes, including reduced missing incidences and increased awareness of exploitation. Research limitations/implications – The small sample size within this pilot project suggests the need for further research to test the applicability of the notion of multi-dimensional safety to young people’s welfare more generally. Practical implications – The findings confirm previous research that highlights the importance of stable relationships in child protection. They have implications for current tendencies to commission short-term CSE interventions that are unlikely to create the relational security that can improve community safety for young people. Originality/value – This is the first published evaluation of specialist accommodation for those affected by CSE in the UK, and its findings will therefore be of most value to commissioners and providers of care to looked after young people. The concept of multi-dimensional safety will be relevant to those with responsibility for child welfare/safeguarding.
    • ‘Sometimes the whole map is red’: applying geographical assessment methods to safeguard adolescents from harm in communities

      Lloyd, Jenny; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2019-12-16)
      Purpose: To explore the opportunities of geographical child protection assessment methods for adolescents victimised in extra-familial contexts. Design: Presenting empirical evidence from an action research study within one child protection service in the UK, the study draws upon qualitative data from practice observations, case review, training and five context assessments. Findings: Safety mapping and neighbourhood observations provide options to assess extra-familial contexts. Findings reveal that these methods support practitioners to build local knowledge of areas supporting interventions into community places rooted in principles of child protection.  Practical implications: The article highlights the need for further testing of contextual safeguarding approaches and policy guidance that outlines whose role it is to protect children in communities. Social implications: Geographical assessment methods provide a route to engage with young people’s lived experience of place. And develop interventions that target contexts and not just individuals affected by extra-familial harm. Originality: The article presents original research into the use of geographical assessment methods to be used within a child protection framework.
    • Utilising the arts to tackle child sexual exploitation

      Cody, Claire; University of Bedfordshire (Emerald, 2015-01-12)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to consider the potential use of creative, arts-based methods to address child sexual exploitation (CSE) through connecting with and supporting young people affected by CSE; and engaging the wider community through awareness-raising and education to help keep young people safe. The use of the arts in building understanding, promoting agency, educating and countering negative portrayals of those affected by CSE are also explored. Design/methodology/approach – A literature review identified that there is currently a limited evidence-base surrounding the use of arts in addressing the negative outcomes for young people affected by CSE and promoting the inclusion and safety of young people in the community. To explore the potential use of the arts in engaging young people and the communities they inhabit, this paper draws from research with other “hard to engage” and stigmatised groups, and learning from efforts to tackle other sensitive and challenging issues that impact on communities. Findings – The paper suggests that despite the relatively young evidence base concerning the role of creative, arts-based methods to tackle CSE, there is relevant transferable learning that suggests that there is potential in utilising the arts to help prevent CSE and promote community safety. Research limitations/implications – There is a clear need to consider the ethical implications of this work and to further examine how the arts may be utilised to tackle CSE and bring about positive outcomes for both individuals and for the wider community. Originality/value – The paper brings together bodies of literature from other fields to explore the potential use of creative arts-based methods to tackle a significant contemporary issue of community safety.