The basic rule in the youth criminal justice system is that there will be no publication of the youth’s identity. Publishing means communicating the information to the general public through any means, including social media. The reason for this rule is to protect youth privacy and help them be positive members of society. Publishing that a youth is involved in the criminal justice system or their youth criminal records would make rehabilitation back into the community more difficult. Labeling a youth as a criminal may have a strong impact on that youth. It could impact their self-perception, as well as the perception of others.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are exceptions to the basic rule of no publication. Reason’s a youth’s name may be published include:
- The youth has been found guilty of an offence and is given an adult sentence
- The youth has received a youth sentence and the court determines that publication is necessary to protect the public as there is a significant risk of them committing another violent offence
- The youth is at-large and is a danger to others
- The youth is 18 or older, is not serving a custodial sentence and either chooses to publish or gives consent to publish his/her/their name
It is also against the YCJA to publish the names of any young witnesses or victims of crimes a youth is accused or convicted of committing.
Publishing the identity of a youth, victim, or witness in contravention of the YCJA is a criminal offence, punishable by up to 2 years in custody.