Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue magazine, and Sara Khan, award-winning human rights activist, and author of The Battle for Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism, will be among the key speakers at this year’s Youth Justice Convention – the most significant event in the sector’s calendar.
The annual event will see policy makers and frontline youth justice professionals come together at Milton Keynes’ ArenaMK on 29 and 30 November to discuss and debate the latest developments in the youth justice system.
Now in its sixteenth year, the two-day event run by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales, is themed ‘Youth Justice: From Now to the Future’.
Three young people – Kenny Ladipo, Ebinehita Iyere, and Liam Hill – will be co-hosting the Convention and sharing their respective stories about how their involvement with knife crime, violence and gang affiliations brought them into contact with the youth justice system. Having completely turned their lives around, they now work with other young people at risk of offending.
Kenny, currently taking a gap year before completing his degree at Goldsmiths, University of London, is working for Hackney Council’s Voluntary Services as a project co-ordinator, helping young black men to have better outcomes. Recent graduate Ebinehita, who gained a 2:1 degree in Criminology and Youth Studies at London Metropolitan University, is currently a Leadership and Enterprise Project Worker at LEAP, a national youth charity providing conflict management training, and is training to become a trauma informed youth practitioner. Liam is the Director of Voice for Children, an organisation in Cheshire which offers children and young people living in the care system, and those with experience of the youth justice system, an opportunity to learn about their rights and responsibilities.
Youth justice practitioners attending the Convention will also get the chance to learn more about the most challenging issues they face in their everyday work. Topics range from devolution; child sexual exploitation; local gang intervention work; emerging trauma-informed approaches to reducing youth offending; the high proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people in the youth justice system; and the risks of radicalisation and extremism.
Dusty Kennedy, the YJB’s Director for Wales, will deliver a session called ‘Giving Young People A Voice in Youth Justice’, which will explore the ways the youth justice system can help young people shape the services they receive – by listening to them and acting on their views.
Delegates will also be able to hear more about:
- the work that the YJB and partners are doing to focus on ‘youth offenders as victims’;
- the Youth Justice Professional Degree and Apprenticeship, an exciting new qualification for all youth justice practitioners being developed by the YJB.
Lord McNally, Chair of the YJB, said:
The Youth Justice Convention gives us an excellent opportunity to celebrate the many successes of the youth justice system over the past 16 years, and to share best practice more widely with those working in the sector.
This year is particularly significant: we have a new Justice Secretary and the potential for a new direction of travel for youth justice, as outlined in Charlie Taylor’s interim review, published in February.
It is therefore now more important than ever to hear from those at the cutting-edge of policy developments, as well as from the young people themselves who have experienced the youth justice system first-hand, and whose transformed lives remind us that the good work of those on the frontline must go on.
Alongside Lord McNally and Dr Phillip Lee, the government’s Minister for Victims, Youth and Family Justice, keynote speeches will also be given by:
- Sara Khan, Director of counter-extremism organisation, Inspire; and author of The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism
- Lord Bird, Director of The Big Issue: From Homelessness to the House of Lords
The two-day event, which will be live streamed on the event’s website, already has a strong social media presence, with many attendees using the hashtag #yjc2016 to join the conversation.
Notes to editors
- the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales is running this year’s Youth Justice Convention with its events partner, Dods. For further information about Dods or to purchase a ticket visit their website
- follow @YJC2016 on Twitter and use the hashtag #yjc16 to join the debate