Do your bit by volunteering to join youth panel

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People with an interest in the criminal justice system are needed to help young people in trouble with the law.

Herts County Council’s Youth Justice Service is recruiting volunteers across the county to sit on youth offender panels, which deal with young offenders following their first court appearance.

They are designed to give communities a say in how young offenders can repair the harm they have done and help them to take responsibility for their actions.

Each panel is made up of two volunteers and one member of the local youth offending team and works with the young person and his or her family to draw up a programme aimed at helping them make amends and preventing further offending.

Interested applicants are invited to attend an open evening in Hatfield on Wednesday, February 5 (6.30pm to 9pm) to find out more.

Councillor Richard Roberts, County Hall’s cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Sometimes young people make mistakes but attending these panels are a really good opportunity to get back on track and make a contribution to victims and their community.

“Supporting young people can be highly rewarding and volunteering with Hertfordshire Youth Justice Service also allows you to find out more about the criminal justice system. “

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and have an awareness of issues affecting young people and victims of crime, be able to listen and communicate effectively, be able to work in a non judgmental manner and adhere to Herts County Council’s equalities policies.

Applicants need to be available for two to three hours a fortnight and commit to the role for at least a year.

Full training and ongoing support is provided and there is reimbursement for any travelling expenses incurred.

Wednesday’s meeting will take place at the the Jim Macdonald Centre, High View, Hatfield, AL10 8HR.

The following training, two full Saturdays and three evenings, will also be held in Hatfield.