Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business
This Written Statement is to inform Assembly Members of my intention to introduce a Youth Justice Bill. I believe legislation can provide better support for children and young people in the youth justice system.
Children and young people who become involved in the youth justice system are some of the most disadvantaged young people in Wales. We all know there are real benefits of avoiding them entering the system. Not only will we protect them from stigmatisation and loss of opportunity, but at the same time, we will protect our communities from crime.
Our Programme for Government made a commitment to issue a consultation for youth justice provision in Wales and the options for improvement, including whether there is a need for legislation. A Green Paper consultation on proposals to improve services to better meet the needs of children and young people who are at risk of entering, or are already in, the Youth Justice System was carried out between 18 September 2012 and 11 December 2012. 62 formal written responses were received. Three stakeholder events were held attended by 61 people and 55 young people participated in focus groups. Today, I am issuing a summary report of the responses to the consultation.
The Green Paper considered what more could be done to strengthen services for which the Welsh Ministers have policy responsibility, to ensure greater accountability of all partners for those children and young people who are at risk of entering, or who are in, the youth justice system.
The consultation responses will inform the development of the Youth Justice Bill.