What is a Referral Order?
A Referral Order is a Court Order to help you take responsibility for your behaviour and stop off ending. It can last from 3-12 months.
The Court decides how long the Order will last and you will go to a meeting of the youth off ending panel.
The panel will agree with you what you have to do during that time.
The panel will:
- Help you stop off ending
- Help your family and friends support you to stop off ending
- Hear how the victim/s of your offence feel about it
- Help you put right some of the harm done.
Why am I going to a Youth Offender Panel?
The court decides/has decided that your offence would be dealt with by way of a Referral Order.
There are three people on the panel. Two of them are from the local community and the third is from the Youth Offending Team (YOT). The panel will hear what has happened and agree with you what is to be done.
What happens first?
A member of the YOT will meet with you to find out more about you, so that they can write a report for the panel.
This report will help the panel decide on an appropriate programme to support you not to re-offend.
You will be given the time, date and place of the panel meeting. If you do not attend, you will have to go back to Court. The Court may also order your parent or guardian to attend.
What happens at a Youth Offender Panel?
The panel is not like a Court, but you must treat everyone with respect.
The victim of your offence may be there or the panel may tell you their views. They may say how they feel about the offence and what they would like to happen. Your parent or guardian will also have the chance to speak.
The panel will listen to what you have to say. They will expect you to agree a contract which sets out what you will do.
The contract you agree should include repairing some of the harm to the victim and activities to help you stop offending, such as:
- Writing a letter of apology
- Doing practical work for the victim or the community
- Working on a programme to help you stop offending.
What happens with the contract?
You have time to finish the contract in the time set by the Court.
The YOT will help you with this. You can expect to attend a panel meeting about every three months, so the panel can hear about the progress you are making.
If you do not keep to the contract, you will have to go back to the panel and they may decide to send you back to Court.
When you have completed your contract, there will be a final panel meeting. Your Referral Order will be finished and your conviction will be ‘spent’. This means for most jobs you will not have to tell anyone about it.
If you have any further questions about the Referral Order, please contact Slough Youth Offending Team.