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The Mental Health Needs of Young People who Offend

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Following an approach by the North East Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, this research looked at the mental health needs of young offenders. The specific aim of this piece of work is to assist commissioning bodies within the health and youth justice systems by providing a clear picture of needs, priorities and gaps in current arrangements for meeting the mental health and learning disability needs of young offenders. Although the focus of this report was the North East of England, it is likely that lessons learned in this region will be transferable to other areas of England and Wales, and it is hoped that the findings may be of use to a wider audience.

Key recommendations arising from the research included:

  • a strategic and integrated approach to the development of primary and specialist mental health services for young people, and within it young offenders, across all tiers.
  • a partnership approach including health, children’s services, criminal justice agencies and voluntary agencies
  • revise and rationalise screening and assessment processes to identify mental health and learning disability needs to take account of identified inadequacies

This work was originally published in 2007.



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