Skip Content

Criminal Care? · 5 Mar 2019

Listening to young people

A key part of our programme of work is hearing from young people themselves. My colleague Claire has so far conducted ten in-depth interviews with children and young people and we have met many more as we hold meetings around the country. The views of these young people inform everything we do and have helped us gain a real understanding of the routes to criminalisation that can develop from experience of living in residential care.

Our last briefing, ‘This is our story: children and young people on criminalisation in residential care’, told the anonymised stories of four of the children and young people we have interviewed. We have also provided platforms for young people to speak about their experiences at events, and on occasion to the media.

One of the most effective ways of hearing from children and young people in their own words has been this blog. There have been guest blogs by young people, such as this one, as well as posts which explore policy issues and feature direct testimony from young people, such as this one on going missing from care. These sit alongside other excellent guest posts from academics and practitioners but it is usually the posts from young people which excite the most interest from our readers.

The views of young people inform everything we do

Last month a staff member from the Howard League accompanied Ella Dhillon, who has guest blogged for us in the past – see, for example, this post – to Social Media Exchange 2019, a training event organised by ‘digital storytelling’ consultancy sounddelivery. You can watch Ella talking about her experiences of the day and why she thinks enabling young people to tell their own stories is important by watching this clip from Twitter.

Andrew Neilson


  • Irene Kidney says:

    I have read the four young people’s comments and am appalled at how they were treated. I worked myself in a home and don’t remember us ever calling the police even though there were some pretty difficult situations. I am now supporting a young person in prison in Lancaster he is 28. We are not allowed to take anything in not underwear, books or anything. He has been refused even his trainers even though on one occasion when I visited the sole was coming off the trainers he had on. He was not in care but had an extremely abusive upbringing which has resulted in him not being able to control his anger. Consequently he has ended up in prison. He had to take drastic steps to gain some mental health support in prison or even when he sought help in the community, in spite of him being diagnosed with personality disorder, ADHD and PTSD. Any advice would be appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Tagged with

  • Join us

    Add your voice to our movement for change. Every voice counts and we hope that you will add yours.

    Join us today
  • Support our work

    Everything we do is focused on achieving less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison. We need you to act now for penal reform.

    Ways to support