5. Community sentences if you are under 18

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

There are 3 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
  • reparation orders – when you make up for the harm caused by your crime, like repairing any damage to the victim’s property
  • 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, and if you have recently been released from custody you could be sent back.