The Knot – Lived Experience Perspectives

This research, based on the perspectives of young adults who have committed repeated low-level offences, explores guiding principles for trauma and poverty responsive policing.

This briefing brings together evidence from 100 young adults with personal experience of the ‘revolving door’. Their repeated contact with the criminal justice system is driven by multiple unmet needs. These include mental ill-health, problematic substance use, homelessness, and domestic abuse.

For young adults caught in the tangle of poverty, trauma and structural inequalities, every encounter with the police appears to exacerbate trauma and inequalities. These young people are likely to distrust police and other services and may avoid support, believing that no one will understand or be trustworthy. They often feel hopeless about their life circumstances or chances of recovery.

The briefing makes recommendations about how policing strategies should acknowledge the prevalence of trauma among young adults who commit repeat, low-level responses. These strategies must address disparities in how the police use force and exercise discretion. They must also include a review of operational policing tactics and police custody environments to see how they could be improved to reduce trauma.