Allowed To Move On

With 12 accredited qualifications achieved in just two years and three different work placements under her belt one might wonder why an enthusiastic and driven 19 year old might struggle to get accepted onto a college course or into a job.

But only a few weeks ago this young woman spoke passionately to a small audience of academics, senior police, solicitors, voluntary, community and inspectorate representatives about how two mistakes in her past, which she received cautions for, were impacting her ability to move forward in life.

A strong advocate for other young people, who like her might have left school before gaining any qualifications, grew up in the care of social services or with very little understanding or awareness of their self-worth, she believes cautions and convictions for "minor" offences should remain in the past.

Today a Supreme Court ruled just that: "certain past cautions and convictions should remain part of a protected private life and not have to be disclosed in criminal record checks". The case brought forward involved a man who was refused a job because of two police cautions he received aged 11.

At Include Youth we encounter young people who face these challenges daily and today's ruling marks a positive step forward.

The only way people who have been involved in minor non-violent crime can be rehabilitated is if they are allowed to make positive contributions through work and volunteering opportunities in their communities.

Many of us make minor mistakes particularly when young, but these cannot be allowed to dictate the rest of our lives.