Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


9 January 2019

Ralph Morton & Stephen Case - Exploring the language barrier to engagement in youth justice practice

Presented By DARG
  • 13:00-14:30
  • U1.12 Brockington Extension

About this event

For the presentation:

"Over the past two years we have been working on a project looking at communication in assessment interviews with young people in the youth justice system. Assessment interviews are integral to the youth justice process. They are the main method by which practitioners gather information about a young person’s life, experiences and the influences on their behaviour. They are therefore key to building a constructive relationship with a young person.

While there have been previous studies of the effectiveness (or otherwise) of communication between young people and professionals in other parts of the justice system (e.g. in police interviews and court settings), none have examined the use of communication in youth justice assessment interviews. Communication difficulties in this context are typically discussed in relation to ‘Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties’ (Taylor et al 2014; Talbot 2010) rather than critical exploration of the nature of professional practice (Case and Haines 2015).

Our project addressed this knowledge gap by systematically investigating the role of communication in the context of youth justice assessment interviews. In this talk we will present the results of our research, and discuss the range of factors that were found to affect communication in this context."

For the data session:

"One of the main ways that we found young people engage in the assessment process is through resistance. This can involve questioning or rejecting the content of a question, resisting negative assumptions or evaluations made by the professional, and even resisting positive evaluations. In the data session we will look at a few short extracts which exemplify these different ways in which young people engage with the process through resistance."