Laura Cooper writes about the crucial role that youth justice lawyers have to play in reducing the criminalisation of looked after children at the police station.
Imagine this scenario: A teenager gets into an argument with their parents. Voices are raised and the child refuses to follow mum and dad’s instructions. The parents call the police who arrive to take the child into custody.
This might sound unlikely because it is. Most parents understand that calling the police to intervene in a disagreement with their children is a last resort that should only be taken in extreme circumstances. Unfortunately the same is not true for children in care. Recent research from the Howard League for Penal Reform revealed that children’s homes in some parts of England are calling the police as many as 200 times a year. Repeated contact with the criminal justice system puts children at risk of criminalisation as they end up being pulled into a strong current of crime from which it is difficult to escape.
The children we are concerned about are some of society’s most vulnerable. Looked after children are likely to have experienced...
Read the full article here.