By Cathy Dilks, CCRC Head of Applicant Outreach
At the CCRC, we’re committed to reaching anybody who thinks they might have suffered a miscarriage of justice. A big part of our outreach work is making children in care aware of our services, as many young people who have been dealt a tough start in life can also fall on the wrong side of the law – including some potentially unjust convictions or sentences.
Did you know that…
- Children with experience in care are 6 times more likely to be criminalised than other children
- Just over half of care experienced children will have a criminal conviction by the age of 24
- 59% of children in custody are care experienced
- Children who in care are 10 times more likely to receive a custodial sentence than the average young person
There are potentially a lot of children in care who might want to request that we review their case. We have done a lot of work in recent years to reach this traditionally under-represented group, including training youth charities and visiting Young Offenders’ Institutions, as well as setting up an Instagram channel aimed at young people.
As a result, the number of applications we receive from people aged 25 and under to the CCRC has risen by 62% in the last two years, from 83 to 135. They now account for 9.4% of all CCRC applicants – compared to 7.3% in 2020/21.
But more can be done – and we are committed to working with stakeholders to reach more potential applicants.
As the CCRC’s Head of Applicant Outreach, I had the privilege of being invited to the launch of Dare to Care: A Legal Guide to Representing Care Experienced Young Children on Wednesday 13 September. This House of Commons event was hosted by Emily Thornberry MP and the Drive Forward Foundation.
I heard how the Drive Forward’s Care Experienced Policy Forum has been working with youth justice experts to create a new guide for solicitors and barristers when representing care experienced young people.
Alongside guest speakers from Drive Forward’s Care Experienced Policy Forum, the Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill KC shared his reflections on reducing the criminalisation of children in care.
Care experience children are also known to be more likely to put in situations where they come into contact with the police, and be subject to additional restrictions and requirements in care settings, which may lead them to come into conflict with the law. We also learnt how care experience children are also more likely to be targeted by criminal gangs, and maybe victims of child criminal exploitation and be involved in such things as county lines.
Amongst the organisation we have worked with include The Children’s Society, where the CCRC have provided free training on how we can help young people convicted of crimes in relation to child exploitation and county lines, and we have contributed to the Children’s Society’s toolkit on child exploitation for other professionals.
Convictions from young people in relation to modern day slavery and child exploitation cases are specific types of cases which the CCRC are committed to raising awareness of and reviewing, but we will go look into any young person’s case, regardless of the crime, to see whether there is any possible reason we could send that case forward for an appeal.
The Dare to Care House of Commons event was very relevant to the work of the CCRC. It was an honour to be invited and will help us to further improve our outreach work to young people who might be interested in our services.