Youth Custody

Justice written question – answered on 12th February 2014.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many suicide attempts have been reported involving children held in custody.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are committed to the safety of offenders and to preventing deaths in custody. Strenuous efforts are made to learn from each death in custody. All establishments who hold young people are required to have procedures in place to identify, manage and support young people who are at risk of harm to themselves.

The Youth Justice Board does not collect data on attempted suicides, although it does require secure establishments to report instances of self-harm. Whereas attempted suicide involves the intent to die, instances of self-harm may not. Determining the intent of a young person involved in a self-harm incident requires a subjective assessment, by trained a mental health professional, who may not be able to reach a definitive conclusion. Data on self-harm are published in the annual Youth Justice Statistics and can be found here:

(see Supplementary Tables, chapter 8).

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