The Whole System Approach: Responding to Complexity and Lessons Learned

Claire Lightowler, Debbie Nolan

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The Whole System Approach for Children and Young People who offend, introduced in 2011, represented a significant shift to more clearly focus on diversion, early intervention and holistically responding to children involved in offending. Since the introduction of the Whole System Approach, there has been a significant reduction in children and young people’s contact with the justice system (police contact, referrals to the Children’s Hearing System, and number of young people in Young Offender Institutions). This presentation discusses the Whole System Approach, what it is, the rationale behind this, how it has attempted to respond to the complexity of the lives of children involved in offending, and what has been achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2017


  • whole system approach
  • young offenders
  • child offenders
  • offending behaviour
  • vulnerability
  • victimisation
  • violent offenders
  • adverse childhood experiences


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