UKABIF has launched its third Manifesto ‘Life After Brain Injury: Children, Young People and Offending Behaviour’ to raise awareness and improve services for those with Acquired Brain Injury, which aims to identify young people who are ‘at-risk’ of offending and keep them out of the Youth Justice System.
Long-term brain injury in childhood and young adulthood is associated with an increased tendency of offending behaviour and, relative to the general population, there is a high prevalence of brain injury amongst young offenders in custody. All professionals involved with young people need to work together to recognise, understand and manage this problem. The evidence-base documenting the incidence of brain injuries amongst young offenders in custody is significant. Acquired Brain Injury is linked to earlier, repeated offences, a greater total time spent in custody and more violent offending. Because of the hidden elements of Acquired Brain Injury, many young offenders enter the Youth Justice System but receive little or no treatment. Their differing needs and difficulties are not diagnosed or acknowledged, not understood or not taken into account when professionals are preparing cases and considering sentencing.
UKABIF has launched this Manifesto to highlight the problems faced by young offenders with recommendations to address and even prevent the issues. Acquired Brain Injury is a chronic condition with potentially life-long consequences. These young people need to be monitored long-term, especially in the education system where behavioural problems can be identified promptly and the young person supported by trained professionals.
Lord Ramsbotham, former Chair of the Criminal Justice and Acquired Brain Injury Interest Group said: “There is beginning to be an appreciation of assessing children and young people for brain injury when they first enter the Youth Justice Service and this is to be commended. However, there is an urgent requirement to identify brain injury problems early. If children and young people can be identified as being ‘at risk’ and are then supported, this may then prevent any offending behaviour occurring and/or reduce the likelihood of re-offending”.
Professor Barnes stated: “Children and young people are often failed by the health service, social care, education system and the youth and criminal justice system. We need to ensure this does not continue”.
In 2013, The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF) launched its campaign ‘Life After Brain Injury? Improve Services Now’ with two Manifestos; one for adults with Acquired Brain Injury and the second for children and young people with Acquired Brain Injury. This third Manifesto continues UKABIF’s important campaign to raise awareness of the need for improved services and better care generally for all individuals with Acquired Brain Injury.