The over-representation of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in the criminal justice system is especially concerning given the particular harms that justice system involvement can have on them. Youth diversion gives children the chance to avoid both formal criminal justice processing and a criminal record, in return for the completion of community-based interventions. However, the overrepresentation of children with SEND in the justice system suggests that the diversion processes are not working for them.
This literature review summarises the evidence around SEND and youth diversion, with a focus on access and engagement.
It will be followed, in early 2024, by a research report examining how responsive diversion schemes are to those with SEND, drawing on testimony from practitioners and children themselves.