If a young person (10 – 17 years old) is appearing in court for the first time and has pleaded guilty to the offence, they might be given a referral order.
Referral Orders are made for a period between 3 and 12 months.
Once the Court has suggested a Referral Order a member from the Youth Offending Service will contact the young person and their parent / carer. Firstly, the young person is ordered to appear before a Referral Order panel within 20 days of the court appearance, together with their parent or carer.
The Referral Order panel meeting brings together volunteers who are specially trained to take part in these panels, a practitioner from the Youth Offending Service, the young offender and their parent or carer and sometimes the victim of the crime.
Together they put together a programme which will include reparation work (giving back to the community and/or victim) and work to address the offending behaviour.
Please see our Referral Order case study for the young person's view: