Devon Serious Violence Needs Assessment 2023 – Executive Summary

The Serious Violence Duty places a requirement on Safer Devon partners to work together to ‘prevent and reduce serious violence’. Specified authorities[1] are required to produce a needs assessment outlining the picture of serious violence and the drivers of that violence in their local areas by January 2024. A strategy, informed by the needs assessment, is also expected to be produced by this time.

This Executive Summary aims to highlight key findings as well as point toward initial strategy considerations in terms of focus and priorities. This summary relates to Devon County Council’s administrative area only, not Plymouth or Torbay, unless otherwise specified.

Nature, scope, prevalence and trends in serious violence – key headlines 

Serious violence is increasing

Within Police data, there has been an overall increase (across all ages) in the level of total serious violence crimes in scope from November 2018 to October 2022 by around 12%. During the same period there was a decrease in those offence groups not in scope, by 7%. 

Violence with Injury comprises the majority of offences (42%). The largest increases within offence groups are within Rape (27%), Other Sexual Offences (25%) and Possession of Weapons, (49%).[2]

It should be noted that over a third of these serious violence offences are related to domestic abuse.[3]

In relation to Police data, specified authorities have agreed the following offence groups are in scope for this Serious Violence Needs Assessment. Those offence groups which are out of scope are also detailed for information.

Serious Violence Offence Groups – in scope:

  • Homicide
  • Violence with Injury
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Trafficking of Drugs
  • Possession of Weapons
  • Rape
  • Other Sexual Offences
  • Stalking and Harassment

Non-Serious Violence Offence Groups – not in scope:

  • Possession of Drugs
  • Theft from the Person
  • Other Offences
  • Vehicle Offences
  • Bicycle Theft
  • Burglary Dwelling
  • Criminal Damage
  • Burglary Non Dwelling
  • Public Order Offences
  • All Other Theft Offences
  • Shoplifting
  • Violence without Injury
  • Death or Serious Injury Caused by Unlawful Driving

Please note – there will be lower levels of violence within certain offence groups that are included in scope, for example ’Harassment without Violence,’ within Stalking and Harassment.

In the same period, Violence with Injury offence descriptions that can be considered to be the ‘most serious,’ for example Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), have also increased by 33%. This may indicate that violent crimes committed may be becoming more severe in nature.

Most Serious’ Violence with Injury Offence Descriptions:

  • GBH with and without intent
  • Section 18 Wounding with Intent
  • Attempt to cause GBH
  • Attempt Murder, Child Destruction
  • Administer poison with intent to GBH
  • Racially or religiously aggravated GBH
  • Throw Corrosive fluid to do GBH
  • Cause explosion with intent to GBH
  • Owner/person in charge of a dangerous dog causing GBH
  • Section 18 wounding with intent to resist arrest
  • Intentional Strangulation
  • Intentional suffocation

There is a clear focus in the Serious Violence Duty on serious violence in relation to young people and ‘public space youth violence.’ However, adults are responsible for the majority of serious violence offences recorded in Devon, within Police data. Offences committed by those under 18 account for less than 20% of total offences.

Serious violence involving adults

Adults who commit serious violence are often responsible for the most severe violence. When looking at those crimes considered to be the ‘most serious’, for example Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), victims and those who commit the crimes are most likely to be adult males between the ages of 26-55. Furthermore, when looking at homicide data, although figures are small, all offences across the period of November 2018 – October 2022 were committed by adults. The victims of these offences are also more likely to be adults.

There are crimes that adults more frequently perpetrate toward young victims; this is particularly true of sexual violence, which most commonly involves adult males as the person committing the offence,[4] and young female victims.

South West Probation data indicates that there is a significant cohort of vulnerable adults who commit violence as a result of complex needs and drivers.

Serious violence involving young people

Provisional data from the Devon Youth Justice Service (YJS) indicates serious youth violence is increasing. This is based on the Youth Justice Board Serious Violence Data Toolkit, up to Q4 2022/23, where serious violence is defined as ‘any drug, robbery, or violence against the person offence that has a gravity score of five or more.’ 

Within Police data there has been a 27% increase in crimes where the person committing the offence, and the victim, are both under 18 (from 18/19 to 21/22). This will be termed ‘peer to peer’ violence. The types of crimes occurring vary, however the most prevalent offence group is Violence with Injury. The majority relate to lower-level Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) offences.

Qualitative data suggests a normalisation of violence between young people. There are reports of online violence with threats, physical violence, bullying and sexual harassment being commonplace.[5]

Knife crime

Nationally, weapons are responsible for around 15% of all violent incidents, and more than half of all homicides.[6] Knife crime is a key priority in the Serious Violence Duty.   

In the years November 2018 – October 2022 there were 957 crimes with a knife related flag.[7] Out of these crimes, 169 had a person linked as committing the offence. There were less than 20 under 18-year-olds (12%) recorded as committing an offence.

Police data does not suggest that young people are at risk as victims or perpetrators. This diverges from the national picture. However, there are limitations in terms of what can be surmised from Police data alone, as there will be a degree of underreporting. Also, the data currently available for analysis only covers the period up to October 2022.[8]

In 2023, Space Youth Service carried out lived experience work on knife crime with young people. It was found that: 

  • 52% of young people reported to know someone who carries a knife. 
  • 48% were concerned about friends or family being involved in knife crime. 

Although there are caveats attached to this data,[9] there are concerns that the number of young people in Devon carrying a knife may be increasing.

Given current limitations on available data, knife crime is an area that would benefit from further local research.

Exploitation of young people and other vulnerable people occurs in Devon  

Drug-related exploitation  

Nationally, drugs have been identified as increasingly associated with violence and exploitation. Available evidence indicates that drug-related violence is increasing. In Police data serious violence offences with a drug flag in Devon have increased by 72% compared to pre-covid figures.[10]

In Devon Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) is the most commonly identified form of exploitation for children and young people. CCE is generally considered to relate to drugs. Boys are most commonly referred for CCE. 

There are a number of drug business models in Devon, for example county lines operations as well as local street dealers. A portion of those involved in the supply of drugs are exploiting children to sell or transport drugs on their behalf.  

YJS data shows that in 21/22 there were concerns regarding CCE relating to 28.9% of the young people who committed a serious violence offence. In 22/23 this figure was 19.2%.

There is evidence to suggest that vulnerable adult drug users are becoming involved in drug supply and becoming at risk of serious violence. The Police Drug Markets Profile (2023) shows that: 

  • 30% of dealers were identified as potential users, highlighting fluidity in these roles and vulnerability of those involved.
  • Housing dealers for free or discounted drugs and buying drugs from dealers ‘on tick’ (paying later) were among commonly observed ways that people using drugs funded their drug purchases – this points to an inherent risk of exploitation, including ‘cuckooing’, coercion and violence. 

Sexual exploitation  

The second most prevalent form of exploitation in Devon is Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Girls are more frequently referred for CSE. There is evidence to suggest that CCE and CSE are often interlinked and co-occur.  

When assessing Police data from November 2018 – October 2019, a relatively small number of serious violence crimes had a CSE flag – 66. In November 2021 – October 2022, 186 crimes contained a CSE flag. Despite relatively small numbers, this is a significant increase.

YJS data shows that, in 22/23, 11.5% of offences were linked to a child who had experienced previous sexual exploitation (6 offences in total), in 21/22 this was 0%. However, it is likely that CSE is under reported.  

National and regional data indicates that adult women with complex lives and multiple disadvantages are also vulnerable to sexual exploitation and violence.[11]

Serious violence is gendered  


Police data from November 2018 – October 2022 shows around 60% of serious violence victims, with a recorded sex, are female.

A female is likely to become a victim of a serious violence crime, perpetrated by a male; 81% of crimes that record a female victim, linked to any offender, were linked to a male as the person committing the offence. Additionally, over 45% of serious violence crimes with a female victim are also related to domestic abuse.

Around a quarter of all female victims of all ages were victimised two or more times within the 3 years of data. Females are therefore disproportionately impacted by serious violence, as victims, overall.

Evidence indicates females who carry out serious violence are likely to have a higher prevalence of vulnerabilities.[12] Females are however infrequently recorded as people who commit offences in Police data. Between the years November 2018 – October 2022, less than 20% of all people identified as committing an offence were female. The most common age range of females recorded as committing an offence in Police data is 26-35. Those females identified who were under 18 have increased over the three years, however figures are too small to identify conclusive trends.


Males make up around 40% of identified victims, with a recorded sex, in the data. Most of these victims are within younger cohorts; the most frequently recorded is 26-35, then under 18 and then 18-25.

  • In YJS data from 1/4/21-31/3/23, nearly 85% of serious violence offences by young people were committed by a male.
  • Of serious violence offences related to people entering Probation between 1/4/22-31/3/23, 91% of these were committed by males.

Males of all ages make up the majority of people linked to committing a serious violence offence.[13] In Police data males make up over 80% of all ‘most serious’ violence offenders between November 2018 and October 2022.The most frequently listed males who had committed an offence were between the age of 26-35, then 36-45 and then 18-25.

Certain contexts where serious violence crimes are committed – linked to drivers 

In Police data mental health related serious violence offences appear to have increased significantly, with a 66% increase in the use of mental health ‘flags’ since 2019/20.[14] Here a flag has been applied where a person involved in the offence is perceived to be experiencing mental health needs.

From 2018/19 to 2021/22 alcohol related serious violence appears to have increased by 33% in terms of alcohol related ‘flags’ being applied at the point of recording.   

Within the same timeframe, drug related serious violence appears to have increased by 72% (again with reference to drug-related ‘flags’ being applied).    

The aforementioned flags are applied when a person involved in the offence is perceived to be under the influence of drink or drugs.

It should be noted here that flags in crime data are used inconsistently and may also have been impacted by certain operations that have driven this increase in recording.  

Needs and drivers of serious violence

The following diagram details specific needs and drivers that we have identified through this needs assessment to be relevant to people’s involvement in serious violence in Devon.
Figure 1: Ecological model of needs and drivers relating to serious violence.
Graphic shows Ecological model of needs and drivers relating to serious violence. 

Findings are weighted towards young people; however, they are likely to be relevant to adults too.[15] The diagram encourages us to view needs and drivers as interlinking across the four spheres of the ‘individual’, ‘relationships’, the ‘community’, and ‘society’, rather than in isolation of one another.  

Intersectionality and the combination of certain needs and drivers must also be considered when observing what may drive violence within Devon.

Childhood experiences

Childhood trauma and adversity

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with vulnerability to violence across the life course. They can also transmit intergenerationally, creating potential for cycles of violence to occur within families.[16]

ACEs are numerous and varied. Important experiences identified in research include child abuse and neglect, parental substance misuse and mental health, domestic violence and abuse in the home and familial imprisonment.[17]

Multiple ACEs can have a cumulative effect on future outcomes, especially around mental health, substance misuse, and violence towards others and oneself.[18]

Childhood trauma and adversity has been evidenced to have neurodevelopmental impacts. Consequently, traumatic experiences during early years, including the first 1,000 days (2 ½ years) of life are viewed to be particularly crucial for later outcomes.[19]

Prevalence estimates are imprecise; however, research has demonstrated that a significant proportion of justice-involved children and adults in prison have experienced ACEs.[20]

Experience of being in care

Young people who have experience of being in care are disproportionately represented in the Youth Justice System.[21]

For the purposes of this summary, we refer to care experienced children as those where the local authority has become their corporate parent at some point during their childhood – often referred to as Looked After Children.

Care experienced children often face intersecting needs. For example, they are more likely to have experienced trauma, and a high proportion have Special Educational Needs. In addition, children in care may have heightened vulnerability to exploitation due to other risk factors such as being placed in “unregulated accommodation”.[22]  

Within YJS Data, in 21/22, 29% of serious violence offences were committed by care experienced children.  In 22/23, 21% of serious violence offences were committed by care experienced children. When observing offences committed by children who had been open to social care, but not necessarily a looked after child, these figures rise to 39% in 21/22 and 44% in 22/23.

It is difficult to establish, from available local data, the prevalence of care experience within the adult cohort who have committed serious violence offences. However, when observing Ministry of Justice data, it was found that nearly a quarter of all men in prison had been reported to have been ‘Looked After Children’.[23]

Familial imprisonment and criminal activity 

Familial involvement in crime can be seen as a potential risk factor for children becoming involved in crime and violence.

Research by Crest (2019) showed that children who experience parental imprisonment are more likely than their peers to experience multiple adverse childhood experiences, have complex behaviour and emotional needs, and be arrested and imprisoned later in life.[24]#foot

Illustrating the potential link between familial imprisonment and future risk of involvement in serious violence is hard to evidence locally. There is no current system for identifying the children and families of people in the criminal justice system and no nationally recorded data on the number of people who pass through the criminal justice system with dependent children.[25] 

Local research carried out by Space Youth Service with young people who had a family member in prison in youth centres, schools and other settings indicates that parental imprisonment has significant impacts on these young people’s mental and physical wellbeing, their home life, and their behaviour.[26]

Domestic violence and abuse

A study by Gray, Smithson and Jump (2023) into justice-involved young people in Manchester evidenced a relationship between witnessing and/or experiencing domestic violence, alongside other adverse childhood experiences, and youth violence. The researchers observed that witnessing and/or experiencing domestic violence appeared to exacerbate young people’s tendency to respond to situations through anger and react to confrontational situations with violence.[27]  

Our understanding of the prevalence and importance of childhood domestic violence and abuse in young people and adults who carry out harmful behaviour is emerging and would benefit from further research. However local data can tell us the following:

  • Analysis undertaken in Devon in 2021 found that 49% of First Time Entrants into the YJS within a twelve-month period had experienced domestic abuse as either a victim or witness.
  • On average, 85% of adults displaying harmful behaviour that have engaged in community behaviour change programmes in Devon report having experienced domestic abuse as children, indicating the likely cyclical nature of domestic abuse and longstanding impacts.[28]

Parental and caregiver needs   

Partners have raised the importance of the needs of parents and caregivers in creating vulnerability for young people. In particular, they have highlighted needs around substance misuse and/or mental health.

Local data from the first Turning Corners cohort of young people identified as at risk of committing crime and anti-social behaviour in 2019-20 indicates that 39% had grown up in a household where adults experienced alcohol/drug issues and 16% had a parent living with a mental health condition.[29] This evidence could indicate that parental and caregiver needs may heighten the risk of their children becoming involved in crime or violence.   

Individual needs

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Children and young people with SEND all have ‘learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children and young people of the same age.’[30]

SEND can be considered an umbrella term covering a range of needs. SEND can arise from neurodivergence, Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) and/or physical disabilities.[31] It is key to note that neurodivergence and SLCN cannot be seen as synonymous with SEND.

Children and young people with SEND are overrepresented in the Youth Justice System, as evidenced in local and national data. This includes young people who carry out serious violence offences.


  • Research has estimated the SLCN prevalence within Youth Justice cohorts to be around 60-70%.[32]
  • It can be reasonably expected that half of people entering prison have some form of neurodivergent need.[33]

Devon YJS data suggests SEND is more prevalent in the serious violence cohort than any other YJS cohort; in 2022-23 29% of serious violence offences were committed by a young person with SEND, however this was only the case for 17.5% of all other offences and 8.7% of sexual offences. This category of SEND includes young people who are neurodivergent and who have SLCN. It is unclear how far underreporting as well as under diagnosis of SEND needs may be a factor in this data.[34]

Bar chart shows YJS Data relating to children with SEND from all cohorts across the two years.  

Children and young people with SEND are also overrepresented in a number of factors identified to increase vulnerability to involvement in serious violence, indicating that some children and young people with SEND may be more likely to experience compounding vulnerabilities that increase the risk of future involvement in and/or victimisation through crime and violence. For example, children with SEND are more likely than their peers to be excluded from education.[35]

National research highlights the importance of underdiagnosis and a lack of support for SEND needs. Winstanley’s 2018 study of young people with Developmental Language Disorder[36] who had offended highlighted a lack of diagnosis and support as an important factor within the context of their involvement in crime.[37] Whilst this finding relates specifically to DLD, it is likely to hold relevance across the broader spectrum of SEND needs; further exploration of this would be beneficial.

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been consistently linked in research with earlier, more frequent and more violent offending.[38] High levels of TBI have been found in national studies of justice-involved cohorts; in a UK study of males aged 16-18 who had offended, 74% reported a lifetime TBI of any severity, with 46% having experienced a TBI of greater severity.[39] Local practitioner insight in Devon suggests that over half of young people in court in the last 18 months, assessed by a Speech, Language and Communication Therapist, are believed to have experienced a TBI.

TBI has been linked to a range of personal and social challenges including emotional regulation, social isolation, engagement in education and work, challenges around relationships, and vulnerability to substance misuse – suggesting the effects of TBI can be complex and intersect across personal, social and relational experiences.[40]

Contextual factors


Educational challenges are present within the young person cohort who commit serious violence offences.

Exclusions seem particularly prevalent in the data. There is a high proportion of young people in the Devon YJS for serious violence offences who have prior experience of being excluded. In 22/23 44% of serious violence offences were committed by children who had at least one prior exclusion.

Bar chart shows YJS Data relating to excluded children from all cohorts across the two years.

Department of Education data demonstrates that 42% of children in Devon who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violence offence (with a KS4 year of 12/13-17/18) had attended an Alternative Provision.[41] Of note, 65% of children within this cohort were in an Alternative Provision before their first serious violence offence.

Peer influence

It has been suggested by partners that some young people become involved in violence due to its normalisation within the younger cohort. At times violence is seen as cool and carrying out violence is a way to fit in with certain peer groups.

As part of the Peer Action Collective Youth Violence Project, Space Youth Service employed three young people to be peer researchers. From this project, it was found that 16.5% of young people believed violence occurred due to peer pressure. 15% said violence occurred between young people as they thought it was cool. 16.5% of young people also thought that young people became involved in violence to fit in.

Anecdotal evidence from partners working in Devon highlights concerns around certain young person peer groups who are carrying out violence and a range of interlinked and wider harms in a group context. This is an emerging area that would benefit from further exploration. 

Poverty and inequality 

According to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies a large number of studies evidence a link between income inequality and violence.[42] 

There is evidence that poverty and inequality can compound vulnerability to adverse childhood experiences and the impacts of these. Research has also indicated that poverty and deprivation can affect child development, with links to SLCN, school readiness and outcomes.[43]


Analysis undertaken through this needs assessment shows there are cohorts of children, young people and adults who, due to a range of often intersecting and compounding experiences, factors and needs, may have greater vulnerability to serious violence. These groups could benefit from further focus and support to build wellbeing, resilience and opportunity and in doing so prevent and reduce involvement in serious violence.

Cohorts where vulnerability to being involved in violence appears to be most heightened include those with experience of care; those not engaged in education, employment or training; those with SEND and/or neurodivergent needs, especially where these are not being supported; children impacted by parental or caregiver needs and/or domestic harm; children impacted by familial imprisonment; and adults with multiple and compounding disadvantages.

Addressing and responding to these needs and drivers requires a holistic approach that takes account of the complexity of people’s needs and the influences they experience from family, peers, their community and society, including the online sphere. The intersection of these influences and the unique ways in which they are experienced is crucial; taking a person-centred approach is key, so too is taking account of protected characteristics and the intersecting identities and experiences that can shape vulnerability and resilience to harm.

A public health approach should be central to our response. This includes a focus on prevention (at primary, secondary and tertiary levels) and addressing root causes. It also involves taking a life course approach. As we have explained, needs and drivers rarely operate in isolation of one another and can create vulnerability to violence throughout the life cycle. Targeted support within early years through to adulthood is required, as is a joined-up approach across services, commissioning and systems.

Trauma and shame are factors that interweave amongst many of the needs and drivers considered within the needs assessment and are likely to be a common experience for many of the groups we have discussed. The impacts of trauma can, as explored, be lifelong and intergenerational. Shame, strongly interlinked with the experience of trauma, is additionally important in shaping peoples’ actions and responses.[44] Embedding a trauma informed and shame sensitive approach throughout our work is therefore crucial.   

Going forward, our responses should centre on identifying the people, places and contexts where there is greatest vulnerability and also opportunity for change. This should involve responding where risk is most heightened; addressing the cyclical nature of interpersonal harms within families and relationships; preventing and reducing vulnerability at the earliest possible opportunity; and challenging the harmful behaviours and norms driving violence within wider populations, including young person peer to peer harms.


[1] Specified authorities: Police, Integrated Care Boards, Fire and Rescue Service, Local Authorities, Probation Service and Youth Justice Service

[2] It should be noted that Possession of Weapons offences are relatively low and have risen from 364 offences in Nov 18 – Oct 19 to 543 in Nov 21 – Oct 22. 

[3] A third of all offences between November 2018-October 2022 are flagged with a domestic abuse flag. There is inconsistency in use of flags in Police data. 

[4] We caution against using the term ‘offender.’ We have used this term only where necessary to provide clarity over the criteria included in specific figures and analysis.

[5] DYS Space Youth Service lived experience work, with young people, 2022 and 2023.

[6] I Brennan, The Conversation, (2022), ‘The UK government wants to crack down on knife crime – research can tell us why young people start carrying weapons.’  Available at ‘The UK government wants to crack down on knife crime – research can tell us why young people start carrying weapons’.

[7]  A knife crime flag should occur in the data when a knife is present or used within an offence, however the use of the flag is inconsistent.   

[8] Due to the transition to a new data system within Devon and Cornwall Police in November 2022, and resulting data quality issues, the most up to date data is not currently available.

[9]  DYS Space carried out peer-led consultation work with around 100 young people aged 11-19 in 2023 about their experiences and thoughts on knife crime. There may be duplication in these results from the same young people as we do not know how many distinct submissions were received.   

[10] As noted above, ‘flags’ are used inconsistently in the recording of crimes.

[11] Safer Devon Partnership, (2023), Interpersonal and Gender-Based Violence and Abuse Needs Assessment, Section 6.4.

[12] Department for Education (2023), Education, children’s social care and offending: multi-level modelling. DfE. This is also reflected in Probation Service data for the Devon cohort.

[13] Note that offender data is limited and provided in only 13% of crimes.  

[14] Due to a change in recording in mental health flags earliest date for comparison is 2019/20.

[15] Further exploration of how these findings relate across young people and adults is provided in the full needs assessment document.

[16] M Bellis, et al (2014), ‘Adverse childhood experiences: retrospective study to determine their impact on adult health behaviours and health outcomes in a UK population’, Journal of Public Health, 36(1), 81-91.; Bellis, M. et al. (2014b), ‘National household survey of adverse childhood experiences and their relationship with resilience to health-harming behaviours in England’, BMC Medicine, 12(72).

[17] This is a small grouping of what research has identified to be a significant range of adverse and traumatic childhood experiences covering familial, community and societal adversities. See: Early Intervention Foundation (2020), Adverse childhood experiences: what we know, what we don’t know, and what should happen next. EIF.

[18] Dr K Asmussen, Dr F Fischer, E Drayton and T McBride, Early Intervention Foundation, (2020), ‘Adverse childhood experiences: What we know, what we don’t know, and what should happen next.’ Available at Adverse childhood experiences: what we know, what we don’t know, and what should happen next.

[19] Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, New York: UN. (no date), ‘Violence Prevention must start in early childhood.’ Available at Violence prevention must start in early childhood. 

[20] P Gray, H Smithson, and D Jump, Manchester Metropolitan University, (2023), ‘Serious youth violence and its relationship with adverse childhood experiences.Available at Serious Youth Violence Report.pdf (

Ministry of Justice, (2012), ‘Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners.’

[21] It should be noted that only a minority of young people with these experiences ever become involved in crime and violence.   

[22] It should be noted that the Government is in the process of introducing new measures that mean from October 2023, all providers of accommodation for children in care or care leavers up to the age of 18 will be regulated by Ofsted.

[23] Ministry of Justice, (2012), ‘Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners.’

[24] S Kincaid and M Roberts, Crest (2019), ‘Children of prisoners: fixing a broken system.’ Available at Children of prisoners: fixing a broken system.

[25] S Kenny, (March 2022), ‘The Golden Thread: Putting family at the heart of the criminal justice system, The Centre for Social Justice.’ Available at The Golden Thread: Putting family at the heart of the criminal justice system – The Centre for Social Justice.

[26] DYS Space (2023), Not My Sentence progress report July 2023.

[27] P Gray, H Smithson, and D Jump, Manchester Metropolitan University, (2023), ‘Serious youth violence and its relationship with adverse childhood experiences.Available at Serious Youth Violence Report.pdf (

[28] Safer Devon Partnership (2023), Interpersonal and Gender-based Violence and Abuse Needs Assessment, Section 6.2.Based on information from community behaviour change programs delivered in Devon in 2021/22.

[29] Turning Corners was an early intervention programme operating in South Devon for young people vulnerable to being drawn into contextual peer harms, crime, exploitation and anti-social behaviour.

[30] GOV.UK, (2014), SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years – GOV.UK (

[31] SEND is a complex area in which there is variance and in some case a lack of agreement over how needs are categorised. Additionally, needs themselves can be complex and overlapping. Underdiagnosis and diagnostic overshadowing can also impact the validity and generalisability of available data. For more information see: Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2021), Neurodiversity in the criminal justice system: a review of evidence.; Kirby (2021), HMIP Academic Insights 2021/08: Neurodiversity – a whole-child approach for youth justice. Manchester: HMIP.

[32] K Bryan, et al. (2015), ‘Language difficulties and criminal justice: the need for earlier identification’, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 50(6), 763-777.

[33] Criminal Justice Joint Inspection, (2021), Neurodiversity in the criminal justice system: A review of evidence.’  Available at Neurodiversity in the criminal justice system: a review of evidence. 

[34] SEN in YJS data covers, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Hearing Impairment, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Multi-Sensory Impairment + Other Difficulties/Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, SEN support but no specialist assessment of type of need, Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Specific Learning Difficulty and Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

[35] Department for Education, (2023b), ‘Suspensions and permanent exclusions in England.’  Available at Summer term 2021/22 Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England.

[36] Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) can be considered within the SLCN umbrella, whereby SLCN needs meet the criteria for a specific DLD diagnosis.

[37] M Winstanley, Ph. D. Thesis. University of Manchester, (2018), Young offenders and restorative justice: language abilities, rates of recidivism and severity of crime.

[38] H Kent, and H Williams, Manchester: HMIP, (2021), ‘Traumatic Brain Injury.’ Available at HMIP Academic Insights 2021/09: Traumatic Brain Injury. 

[39] H Kent, et al, (2022), ‘Poor parental supervision associated with traumatic brain injury and reactive aggression in young offenders’, Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation37(2), 65-70. (Greater severity TBI involved loss of consciousness).

[40] H Kent, and H Williams, Manchester: HMIP, (2021), ‘Traumatic Brain Injury.’ Available at HMIP Academic Insights 2021/09: Traumatic Brain Injury. 

[41] Department of Education, ‘Education, children’s social care and offending: local authority level dashboard.’ Available at

[42] R Grimshaw, and M Ford, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, (2018), ‘Young people, violence and knives – revisiting the evidence and policy discussions.’ Available at

[43] K Cooper and K Stewart, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, (October 2013), ‘Does money affect children’s outcomes?’ Available at Does money affect children’s outcomes? | JRF.

Early Intervention Foundation (2020), Adverse childhood experiences: what we know, what we don’t know, and what should happen next. EIF.

[44] L Dolezal, (no date), ‘Shame and Violence: Considering shame and shame-sensitive practice in policing.’ Available at: Shame-and-Violence.pdf (