Community sentences if you are under 18

Community sentences for young people are different from those given to adults.

There are 2 main community sentences a court can give you:

  • referral orders – when, with a panel of people from your local community and your youth justice workers, you are asked to agree a programme of work to address your behaviour
  • Youth Rehabilitation Order – when a court decides on different things that you have to do or must not do, which can last for up to 3 years

You can also be given a discharge, when the court decides that the experience of being arrested and going to court is enough of a punishment.

As part of your community sentence you may also have to speak to the victim and:

  • listen to their side of the story
  • apologise to them, either in writing or, if the victim wants, face-to-face

If you break the rules of your community sentence you could end up back in court. You could then be sent to custody.