A group of Edge Hill University students have been given the opportunity to change the lives of society’s most vulnerable children.

Third year students on the BSc (Hons) Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour course have been given the chance to team up with Cheshire Youth Justice Services, working with vulnerable children in a bid to prevent re-offending.

Youth Offending Teams, also known as Youth Justice Services, are multi-agency organisations made up of representation from education, housing, children’s services, health and social care, police, probation, Child and Adolescent mental Health Services (CAMHS) and speech and language therapy.

Chloe Hill, one of the first students to undertake a placement of this type, has helped to run a six week summer project covering subjects such as drugs and alcohol use, and health and wellbeing. Most recently, she has been working with the Court Team.

“I have spent time in the Magistrates’ Youth Court in Chester as part of the Youth Justice Team representatives,” said Chloe. “This was an amazing experience for me to see for my own eyes how the justice system works for young people in court.”

Chloe has helped young people to complete a range of community projects, such as farming and gardening work. She found this a rewarding experience and aims to set up her own reparation project in the future.

“I want to create a new reparation project incorporating something that is popular with the young people in the justice system. This should prove to be beneficial for each one as it will provide them with skills and interests that could impact their future career paths,” said Chloe.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time within this service so far and I feel it has been very beneficial. I aim to compete more hours and experience different areas of the Youth Team such as victim work.”

Sean Creaney, Lecturer in Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour said:

“Chloe should be very proud of what she has achieved on her placement supporting some of society’s most vulnerable children. It has been a fantastic opportunity for her to apply some of the theory she has been taught on her degree to practice and gain first-hand experience of how the justice system works.”

Gareth Jones, Head of Service, Cheshire Youth Justice Services, said:

“We are delighted to be involved in the link with Edge Hill and see students gaining positive practical experience in the demanding environment of working with children in the criminal justice system. We hope we are playing our part in helping to develop future youth justice professionals.”

Cheshire Youth Justice Services recently scooped a Howard League award in the policing and children category for their divert programme, which is targeted at children aged 10-17, who have been arrested for less serious offences. The purpose is to ensure children get a fast assessment and receive an appropriate intervention. It has a role in early identification of need and criminogenic factors.

Find out more about studying Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour here.