• Even if you’ve broken the law, you must still be treated fairly
  • Your rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child all apply, as well as other Human Rights
  • If you are treated unfairly while you’re in the Youth Justice system, you should be able to complain

It’s easy to think that may be you don’t have rights anymore if you have got into trouble with the police, but all your right still apply. In Wales, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been adopted by the Welsh Government, so you should always be treated in a way that respects your rights.

Your right not to be treated differently and unfairly applies to everything that happens when you are in trouble with the police. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you should be treated the same as everyone else in the same position.

If you think that someone is treating you in a way that doesn’t respect your rights – perhaps you’re being separated from others too much, or not allowed contact with your family, or perhaps you are even being hurt by someone who is supposed to be looking after you– while you are in the police station, you can complain. Where you are depends on how you can complain and who you should complain to.

To complain about how you have been treated while you are at the police station, you have to contact the police force that dealt with you. In Wales there are 4 police forces:



North Wales

South Wales

If you don’t think the police force responsible have dealt with your complaint properly, you can appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Your rights include the right to live in good conditions, and include the right to eat healthy food and to have proper healthcare, as well the right to education. In Wales, the organisations and people involved in your detention should understand this. You may be in Youth Detention Accommodation for a short period, or for longer, but your rights should still be respected. The rules that say how Youth Detention Accommodation should be run should cover these rights, and you can complain if these rules are broken.

Complain about treatment in a Youth Offender Institution

You can complain to the governor of the YOI where you are being held, or to the Board of Visitors. You can make your complaint face-to-face by talking to them, or in writing.

Complain about treatment in a Secure Training Centre

You can complaining to the governor, or to an independent person. You might have an independent visitor who comes to make sure you’re being treated properly. You could tell him or her if you have any complaints. Once you have followed the internal complaints procedure at the YOI or STC, and if you are still unhappy about the result, you can complain to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

Complain about treatment in a Secure Children’s Home

Secure Children’s Homes are run by local social services. You can check with the people in charge whether there is an internal complaints procedure within the home. If you are still unhappy, you can make a complaint to the Local Authority in charge of the Secure Children’s Home.  You could also talk to your independent visitor.

You can appeal against a decision of a court. You will need to talk about this with your legal representatives about whether the court hearing was unfair or the decision was wrong. There are only certain reasons you can appeal against a court decision.

If you think you were treated unfairly or rudely by someone working at the court doing administration, or want to complain about the facilities at the court, you can complain to HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

If you want to complain about the way a judge treated you (but not about the decision he or she made), you need to complain to the President of the Court you were sentenced in. You can find out more here.

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