The Youth Offending Team (YOT) in Darlington has been awarded ‘outstanding’ by HM Inspectorate of Probation.

The YOT work with young individuals aged between 10 and 17 who have been sentenced by court, come to the attention of police because of their offending and are dealt with outside of court or are young victims of crime. Their rating has been announced following an inspection last October.

The report published by HM Inspectorate of Probation this month highlighted the team being ‘outstanding’ across governance and leadership as well as partnerships and services.

The Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (OPCVC) provide funding to the Youth Justice Service across County Durham and Darlington.

The OPCVC contributes to the overall costs for the operational delivery of the services as well as providing specific funding for the continued improvement and development in the field of victim support for young people.

Ensuring that appropriate support is available to all victims of crime is key to the responsibilities of the PCVC and support for young victims is something he is keen to progress and develop. Through the Victim Liaison Officer roles, Youth Offending Service (YOS) provide additional support to our local victim support service (VCAS), offering bespoke interventions, one to one support and group work opportunities.

The victim scheme also includes the opportunity to engage in a restorative intervention which was also described as ‘impressive’. Restorative work is a highly individualized and is determined on the victims’ requests which can range from face to face victim/offender mediation or direct/indirect reparative work.

The partnership arrangements were identified as a ‘clear strength’ for Darlington YOT in the report. Darlington YOS is committed to a multi-agency approach to carry out its mission to help make Darlington a safer place and to improve the life opportunities of the young people it works with.

Steve White, Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said, “I am very pleased to hear that Darlington YOT received an outstanding rating. It is testament to the hard-work and innovation from the team to deliver this level of service.

“Ensuring support is available to all victims of crime is priority as outlined in the Police & Crime plan and it is very positive to see the funding we provide to the Youth Justice Service enables the constant improvement and development in the field of victim support for young people.

“The victim scheme that has been developed allows victims to engage in restorative intervention which is personalised to each individual and highlights the impressive ways the team is working to deliver tailored support.

“The positive work ethic and clear strategy ran by a well-managed team has led to this excellent accomplishment. A very well done to all of the dedicated staff for coming together and achieving this accolade”.