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Youth Justice Worker, Jade Newbould, Convicted Of 5 Counts Of Sexual Activity With A Child By A Person In A Position Of Trust

Last week, Jade Newbould was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Newcastle Crown Court, following a guilty plea in relation to 5 counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust. Her conduct was described by the Judge as “inappropriate and unprofessional” and in breach of the trust placed in her.

Newbould was employed as a youth justice worker and worked with young people in the youth justice system on a one to one basis. During the course of her role, Newbould met and worked with one teenager who was awaiting trial for offences. After meeting the teenager, she started an inappropriate relationship with him. Aware that she was prohibited from engaging in any sexual or inappropriate behaviour with the teenager, she encouraged him to initiate the relationship. The prosecution submitted that Newbould “knew from the outset, because of her role, she couldn’t initiate such communication, therefore she groomed him and encouraged him to make the first move of a sexual nature towards her.”

During the criminal proceedings, the Court heard that the relationship came to light after others became suspicious and reported their concerns to the police. The nature of their relationship was then revealed in the WhatsApp messages passing between them, of which there were more than 17,000 in a two month period.

Despite not initially engaging with the criminal investigation, Newbould admitted to the charges against her in December 2023. At a hearing on 5 March, Newbould was sentenced to 12 months in prison and will be registered as a sex offender for ten years. She will also be prohibited from working with young or vulnerable people for life.

This case shines a light on how vulnerable children and young adults in the youth justice system are.

Previously, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has found that there are a number of obstacles to reporting sexual abuse, and that these are magnified in a detention or custodial setting. In particular, IICSA noted (in their report Sexual Abuse of Children in Custodial Institutions) that these barriers to disclosure can include:

  • Not understanding what sexual abuse is or not understanding that the abuse is wrong;
  • Not having someone they trust fully and are able to disclose the abuse to;
  • Feeling that their disclosure will not be taken seriously or that staff will respond effectively;
  • Being fearful of being blamed for the abuse;
  • Children having a fear of reprisal, particularly in light of the power that staff have over them;
  • Feeling unsafe as a result of making a disclosure;
  • Being fearful that any disclosure they made will not be treated as confidential.

Crucially, one key issue identified during the course of the Inquiry, was individuals’ belief that they would not be believed and that there was little point in making a complaint or trying to seek justice. In particular, it was noted that quite often children and young people will test how staff respond to a more general complaint, and that the response to that will quite often inform how confident that young person feels about then disclosing sexual abuse.

Notably the evidence heard by IICSA strongly indicated that in recent years there have been very few reports of sexual abuse within youth detention or custody settings. Given the overwhelming barriers to disclosure and the time it can take someone to feel ready to speak about their experiences of abuse, it is unlikely that this is the reality.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or assault and would like to have a free, confidential discussion about your options, then Hodge Jones & Allen can help you.

Olivia Coffey, a senior associate in the Civil Liberties & Human Rights team, has many years’ experience in acting for victims of recent and non-recent abuse. She can be contacted directly by emailing or by calling 0808 296 7694.