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Youth rehabilitation order

A Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) is a community sentence used by the courts, usually for children who continue to commit offences after completing a Referral Order. The court will decide which ‘requirements’ to attach to the YRO.


The YRO takes effect on the day that it is made and can run for up to three years. The YRO lasts until the end of the longest requirement. Some requirements might have shorter timescales and finish before the end of the YRO. There is no minimum length although in practice Orders shorter than three months are rarely made.

How it works

To sentence a young person to a YRO the court must consider the offence serious enough to warrant a community sentence. The restriction of liberty the order imposes on the young person must be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.

Before making a YRO the court usually must consider a Pre-Sentence Report prepared by Dorset Combined Youth Justice Service (YJS). This helps establish an appropriate balance between the seriousness of the offence, the risk of harm the young person might present in the future and the needs of the young person.

The court then sets the requirements and the overall length of the Order.


The YJS is responsible to the court for ensuring that the court order is carried out. The young person is required to keep all appointments, and to abide by behaviour rules during appointments. Failures to comply, without an acceptable reason, can lead to a return to court for 'breach' of the order.

If the young person is taken back to court for breach, the court may decide to 'revoke' (cancel) the order and to re-sentence the young person.

Involving the victim

Involving the victim of the offence is an important part of Youth Rehabilitation Orders. It is part of an approach known as Restorative Justice.

The guiding principle is that the victim chooses whether to be involved, or how much to be involved. The YJS has a separate worker, the Restorative Justice Practitioner, who contacts the victim.

Specialist workers

Other YJS workers may also meet with the child. The YJS has different types of worker in the team. This is so it can respond to the different needs of each child.

The team includes social workers, health workers, speech and language therapists, a psychologist, a police officer, a probation officer and an education officer. For example, if the child's offence was linked to mental health issues or drug or alcohol use, they may be asked to meet with one of the YJS health workers. If their attendance at school is an issue, then the YJS education officer may become involved.

Parent support

The parents of the child young person may be important to the success of a YRO. The YJS Officer often seeks to meet the child young person at home. This is to make a positive working relationship with the parent or carers.

For some parents it is helpful to have a separate contact in the YJS. They can support them with their efforts looking after the child. The YJS has parenting workers who undertake this work.

Contact details

Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole

Dorset Combined Youth Justice Service,
Ted Webster Centre,
519A Ashley Rd,
BH14 0BD.

Call: 01202 794 321.

Dorset Council

Dorset Combined Youth Justice Service,
Monkton Park,
DT2 9PS.

Call: 0300 123 3339.


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