The aim of this 15-month project is to develop a prototype of a training tool which represents a young person’s journey through the youth justice system including the various challenges that they may face. 


Understanding how best to support individual young people as they progress through the youth justice system is contingent upon the practitioner initially learning more about their circumstances – something which is done using standardised risk assessment tools. However, more informal approaches are also used to establish the foundations for an effective working relationship. Once rapport has been established there are then opportunities to start to exploring thought processes, attitudes and behaviours which may explain the young person’s offending and the factors which can be built upon to promote desistence. This includes the young person being asked to consider the consequences of their actions and to reflect upon whether they could have acted differently. The intention is that the training tool will facilitate these conversations. The project will use as its starting point a game/board which was designed as a prop to enable the PI to discuss the novel statistical methods employed within her PhD to consider the complex inter-relationship between so called risk and protective factors, and youth offending behaviours. The game was informed by evidence from the risk factor prevention paradigm which underpins policy and practice across the youth justice system in England and Wales.

In keeping with the pro-children’s rights stance articulated in Welsh policy and practice within the youth justice system, the tool will be co-produced with partners from Neath Port Talbot Youth Justice and Early Intervention Service (NPT YJEIS). Involving practitioners and young people in the design will help to ensure that the resulting tool is fit for purpose and that it acknowledges the various needs and vulnerabilities of the young people that the YJEIS works with.

Activities and Methods

Activities are divided between a co-discovery and co-design phase which will include focus groups with stakeholders including members of the YJEIS Board, Principal Officers and practitioners and interviews with end-users.  

Once we have a thorough understanding of the needs of the young people and their views on how these could be best served through development of a training tool the project will enter a co-design phase.  This will include a creative sandpit and play-test activities designed to shape and then refine the prototype.



Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorDr Helen Hodges
Related SchoolsSchool of Social Sciences
Related Partners Neath Port Talbot Youth Justice and Early Intervention Services (NPT YJEIS)
Echo Games Community Interest Company