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Supporting Young Offenders to Communicate in the Youth Justice System: A Scoping Review

Sowerbutts, Anna ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7224-4982, Eaton-Rosen, Emma ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3624-3859, Bryan, Karen ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0742-1193 and Beeke, Suzanne ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6772-2820 (2021) Supporting Young Offenders to Communicate in the Youth Justice System: A Scoping Review. Speech, Language and Hearing, 24 (2). pp. 87-104.

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Young offenders disproportionately present with Developmental Language Disorder and are likely to struggle with the communication demands of the justice system. Professional guidance outlines strategies for facilitating successful communication, but it is unknown to what extent recommendations are substantiated by evidence. This review mapped academic and grey literature regarding the communication requirements, barriers and recommendations for routine youth justice interactions, such as forensic interview and courtroom testimony. Academic papers were identified through searches of five online databases, and OpenGrey, Google Scholar and organizational websites were searched to identify grey literature. 75 of 505 retrieved papers met inclusion criteria. Extracted data were presented regarding a) requirements and barriers a young person would encounter in the youth justice system, b) communication recommendations made for each stage of this journey, and c) type of evidence underlying the outlined findings. Communication barriers included exposure to unfamiliar vocabulary, repairing misunderstandings, constructing narratives and displaying the appropriate attitude. Recommendations were wide-ranging and broadly consistent, though very few had been evaluated for effectiveness. Some papers queried the practicality and effectiveness of recommendations such as rephrasing difficult terminology. A relatively small number of papers considered the views of young offenders or observed real youth justice interactions. Future research should include observational studies of real youth justice interactions to evaluate the effectiveness of widely recommended strategies. Policymakers may wish to consider concerns raised that rephrasing the language used in the youth justice system is not practical or sufficiently effective, and that broader changes to the communication environment are required.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: "This is an accepted version of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Speech, Language and Hearing on 5/04/2021 available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2050571X.2021.1899571”
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2050571X.2021.1899571
School/Department: Vice Chancellor's Office
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5819

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