Youth justice

The primary aim of the youth justice system is to prevent offending by children and young people.

The concept of ‘child first’ guides the work of the Hackney youth offending team. This means that we will:

  • prioritise the best interests of children, recognising their needs, rights and potential
  • build on children’s individual strengths and capabilities to support their social identity and stop any further involvement in crime. This leads to safer communities and fewer victims
  • work with children constructively to support children to fulfil their potential and make positive contributions to society
  • encourage children’s active participation, engagement and wider social inclusion. All work is a meaningful collaboration with children and their parents/carers
  • promote a childhood removed from the justice system, using prevention, diversion and minimal intervention

We uphold the duty to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and have in place systems to make sure all children are treated fairly and in accordance with their individual needs.


What we do

We work with all children in Hackney aged 10-17 who have been arrested and admitted to, or have been convicted of crimes.

Our aim is to work with children and their families, understanding their lived experiences and focusing on their strengths to:

  • address factors that lead to offending behaviour
  • prevent any initial offending
  • prevent any further offending

The service supports children via a multi-agency team including:

  • social workers
  • youth workers
  • police
  • probation officers
  • health and education workers, including speech and language therapists
  • mental health and wellbeing clinicians
  • substance misuse workers

We are a statutory service and only take referrals from the police or the courts.

How we support children with communication and language difficulties

We have been working with other teams to be more aware of, and sensitive to, the communication and language difficulties experienced by many of our service users.

Over half of the young people known to the youth justice service in Hackney did not understand vocabulary commonly used such as ‘breach’ or ‘comply’.

Together with speech and language therapists (SaLT), we have been successfully working with young people, police officers and the community to:

  • raise awareness of these issues and
  • support vulnerable young people

This work has helped us to secure better outcomes for children and young people with special education needs (SEN).

Youth justice dictionary

Youth justice dictionary.

Youth justice support and information

Your rights / our partners

Your rights

Our partners

Compliments or complaints

If you would like to make a compliment, complaint or comment about the youth offending team please get in touch with the service manager. Email your full name and contact details to: marking it for the attention of the service manager.

If you are not satisfied, you can also make a formal children’s social care complaint.

Page updated on: 18 January 2024

Hackney Youth Offending Team


275 Mare Street
E8 1GR


Opening times

  • Mon to Fri: 9am-5pm (except bank holidays)