What we do

There is a Youth Justice Team or Service in every local authority in England and Wales. In Suffolk, the Youth Justice Service is organised into three teams which are based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft. Our priorities for 2019-2022 are described in the Youth Justice Plan

Suffolk’s Youth Justice Team has an approach of working together with families, other agencies and charities to make sure each young person gets access to the help they need. The combination of experts, activities, and support programmes that one young person needs will be different to other young people.


Early intervention (diversion)

Sometimes, the Suffolk Youth Justice Service works with children and young people when they haven’t offended. This might be because there is a reason to believe that they are at risk of offending in the future. This intervention work is called diversion.

Additionally, if a young person commits an offence for the first time, or the offence is less serious, the police might decide not to give the young person an outcome at this time. They will then refer the young person to our diversion programme to give them access to additional support to stop further offending.

Out of court

If a young person has already been involved in the diversion programme and continues to offend the police may decide that an out of court solution is best both for the young person and for everyone else involved. These can only be considered when the young person admits the offence. Out of Court disposals include:

Community Resolution
Youth Caution
Youth Conditional Caution

Court outcome

If the young person commits a particular offence, or the young person has committed several offences before, the police may decide to prosecute in court. In most cases the young person will be heard at a Youth Court (in Ipswich or Great Yarmouth), where they might be sentenced to a youth disposal. These include amongst others:

Referral Orders
Youth Rehabilitation Order
Custodial Sentence


Our goal is to make sure the right plan of action is put in place to help the young person to stop offending and make them better equipped to face a future free of crime. One part of this plan is likely to be some form of restorative justice. This means the young person is supported to work with or for those affected by crime; both to be able to “give something back” and to understand how being a victim of crime can affect someone’s life.