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Mapping youth diversion in England and Wales

Despite the clear advantages of youth diversion, there is a lack of information nationally about basic aspects of its provision, including how many (and which) children are diverted and its impact on outcomes including reoffending. To address this, we systematically mapped youth diversion across England and Wales to provide a clearer picture of the realities of, and gaps in, its provision.
We contacted 152 YOTs, of which 115 confirmed they operate a point-of-arrest diversion scheme and have responded to our questionnaire (or been interviewed). A further 18 indicated that they do operate point-of-arrest diversion but have not yet responded to our questionnaire. Only 19 informed us that they do not have a point-of-arrest diversion scheme. We believe this paper to be the most complete survey thus far conducted of the provision of point-of-arrest youth diversion in England and Wales.

The survey has provided a wealth of, until now, untapped information, our research shows that youth diversion is widely but variably practised. Alongside encouraging good practice – including tailored interventions – there are clearly areas for improvement, including around speed of referral.

Supporting youth diversion
As well as our open offer of light-touch support, we provide enhanced support to a limited number of schemes each year. Please contact Claire at cely@justiceinnovation.org or on 0203 735 9437 to discuss how we can help.