A team of Middlesex University academics will evaluate a pioneering London-based project designed to stop children from reoffending by housing them in supervised accommodation and providing the skills and support they need to turn their life around.
The Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS) has been commissioned to review the first ever London Accommodation Pathfinder scheme led by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales and supported by the Association Directors of Children Services.
Boys aged from 16 to 17 will be provided with residential placements as an alternative to youth detention in up to four properties across London with capacity for 20 children each and which are managed by a specialist accommodation provider St Christophers Fellowship.
“Hopefully, this model will create better outcomes for children including creating a therapeutic environment that provides them with the support they need for their mental health." Dr Elena Martellozzo, an Associate Professor of Criminology at MDX
In a two-year evaluation using innovative research methods, the CATS experts will analyse the outcomes of the pathfinder for children, costs comparisons, benefits and governance.
Speaking about the project Dr Anthony Goodman, Professor of Community Justice and co-director of the CATS team, said: “The aim is to keep those at high risk of reoffending from engaging in anti-social and unacceptable behaviour as well as improving the life skills and opportunities of the children.
“It will encourage the children to work on their behaviour and attitudes, and to develop their health, education and life skills in a pro-social way.
“Ultimately this should produce a sustainable intervention to manage risk as children make the transition into adulthood.”
Working with a number of specialist agencies in the community, the project will provide each child with a trauma informed programme and they will learn about the impact of their offending.
Co-director Dr Elena Martellozzo, an Associate Professor of Criminology at MDX, said: “I am very proud to be working on this project.
“It is an innovative and ambitious pan-London project developed for children in the youth justice system that need intensive residential placements as an alternative to custody.
“Hopefully, this model will create better outcomes for children including creating a therapeutic environment that provides them with the support they need for their mental health.”
The pathfinder has been developed in partnership with the Youth Justice Board and the Ministry of Justice and it is hoped it could be rolled out in future across the country.
Matthew Knights, London Accommodation Pathfinder Strategic Development Manager, said: “This pan London pathfinder project is the first of its kind and I am very excited to work with the commissioned organisations and Middlesex University to test out the models that we have developed.
“This will make a difference to the children within the youth justice system and support local authorities across London.”
The study will be directed by Prof Goodman and Dr Martellozzo, with the support of Dr Ruth Spence, Paula Bradbury, Susan Mulcahy, Bogi Meggyesfalvi and Sabrina Holness.
The CATS academics, who have worked on major national and European research projects including with the NSPCC, Internet Watch Foundation and the College of Policing, specialise in investigating online abuse and crimes against children.
Find out more about their work.