Young offenders are not as ‘popular’ as other vulnerable groups and yet in a world of intimidation, violence, county lines and organised crime, their need is just as great. Schools are among those on the front line of this battle. Darren Martindale explains more

Some time ago, I was delivering training around how schools can best support pupils in the youth justice system, or “young offenders”. As we delved deeper into the subject, and I explored the acute vulnerabilities of these children, a member of the audience raised a hand and, with a quizzical expression, made the observation: “You seem to view these young people as victims.”

I was as puzzled as he was, because it had never occurred to me that this was anything other than obvious.

This brought home to me, however, that young offenders are not as “popular” as some other vulnerable groups, such as children in care or disabled young people. Within a culture that continually seeks to assign fault and blame, they do not tend to be afforded the same levels of sympathy or empathy. However, these young people are vulnerable and can indeed be considered victims as much as perpetrators.

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