Myths and assumptions about the ten million UK citizens with a criminal record were addressed at a Positive Youth Justice event held at Edgehill University last week.
Guest speakers included Professor Stephen Case, a criminologist specialising in youth justice issues, leading political commentator, Kenny Imafidon, described by the Huffington Post UK as a “young rising star making waves in UK politics”, and Liam Hill who is a care leaver and Founder of Voice for Children, a consultancy service for young adults seeking support during and following their time as service users.
The event, held by The Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P), in association with the Faculty of Health and Social Care and the Department of Law & Criminology, explored the different ways that the Youth Justice System can improve outcomes for young people who offend.
The speakers stressed the importance of treating young people in conflict with the law as children first and offenders second and also addressed a number of myths, including assumptions that all ex-offenders are violent or have been to prison, instead explaining the reality.
Sean Creaney, Lecturer in Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour at Edge Hill said: "It was a pleasure to welcome Professor Stephen Case, a leader in the field of criminology, and Kenny Imafidon, a political commentator, social entrepreneur and activist, to Edge Hill University. This lecture on the treatment of children in the criminal justice system was relevant to all with an interest in the area of children, young people and families and was well received by the public, staff and students alike.”
The event attracted high profile representatives from the Youth Justice sector, including the Youth Justice Board, the National Association for Youth Justice and children’s social justice charity, Peer Power.
Anne-Marie Douglas, Founder and CEO of Peer Power, said: "I’m delighted that our young Advisory Board member Kenny Imafidon was speaking at this conference about the importance of taking an empathy based, positive, and strengths based approach to engaging with children and young people who have experience of the youth justice system.”