HOME Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK has highlighted the important contribution made by the Youth Justice Team towards enhancing community safety in the Island.
The multi-agency team is led by the Isle of Man Constabulary and works to prevent offending by children and young people.
It has enjoyed considerable success over recent years in helping to transform young lives and reduce the number of victims of crime.
The positive impact of the Youth Justice Team’s work was recognised at the 2012 Awards for Excellence when it won the Public Sector Achievement of the Year category.
Inspector Phil Drowley collected the award on behalf of the YJT which brings together professionals from the Departments of Home Affairs, Health, Social Care and Economic Development, along with third sector representation.
Minister Watterson said: ‘I’d like to add my personal congratulations to the Youth Justice Team on this richly deserved accolade. A lot of the work takes place behind the scenes, so it is great to see their efforts gain public recognition as a result of the annual awards.’
He added: ‘There is no doubt that the YJT has helped to turn troubled youngsters into useful and productive adults, steering them away from a life of crime and all the negative consequences that go with it, not only for the individuals concerned, but also their families, the victims and Manx society in general. My Department is focused on creating safer communities and protecting the Island’s much-cherished quality of life, and the YJT plays a key role in that work.’
The YJT aims to make a difference in young people’s lives by working to a philosophy of prevention, restoration and integration.
Crime is prevented or reduced by addressing the underlying reasons behind the offending behavior – whether they are personal, family, social, educational, training, employment or health issues – and by pursuing earlier and more effective interventions.
The YJT ensures that young offenders face meaningful consequences that hold them accountable for the harm caused to victims and the wider community. A restorative approach is followed, with punishments in line with the seriousness and persistency of the offending.
Work is also undertaken to integrate young people back into mainstream society in ways that enable them to achieve the Government’s desired outcomes for children.
The results have been impressive, with the vast majority of young people referred to the YJT staying out of trouble and many making the move into employment, education or work training placements.
Inspector Phil Drowley said: ‘By working in this way we aim to reduce offending and the number of victims, while helping the young people concerned get their lives back on track. Critical to the success of the YJT is the joined up approach and the willingness of professionals from different areas of Government to come together for the greater good of the young people they work with. This is an example of good practice and inter-department co-operation that is paying dividends.’
The Youth Justice Team was one of three agencies under the umbrella of the Department of Home Affairs to be nominated in this year’s Awards for Excellence, with the Isle of Man Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service also shortlisted.
Minister Watterson said: ‘The award nominations reinforce the Department’s commitment to providing quality services within current budgetary constraints.’