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Childline signals need to rethink services for juvenile offenders

Childline has revealed a sharp increase in demand for its services assisting juveniles detained by the police.

The Appropriate Adult Service organised by Childline is formed by staff and volunteers who on an ‘on-call’ basis assist detained juveniles when their parents or guardians either refuse or are unable to attend the police station.

Statistics unveiled in the charity’s annual report show a 48% increase in the number of children who needed help from the charity’s ‘appropriate adults’ during 2016.

Childline pins the increase in call-outs to the lack of a youth offending service and rehabilitation services for juveniles.

The document outlined how 49 call-outs had been made in 2016, compared to 29 in 2015, 31in 2014 and 36 in 2013.

Last year had the highest rate of call-outs since the service began in 2008.

Crimes committed by the juveniles include drug possession, theft, assault, breach of bail, burglary and being an illegal immigrant. The two most recurrent crimes were drug possession with 19 instances and 10 thefts committed.

“I think what we attribute the increase to is that first of all yes there are cases of repeat offenders,” said Childline Chairwoman Jo Abergel.

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