Your Life You Choose (YLYC) is a multi agency initiative, delivering a one day’s presentation to Year 7 pupils, set up by local Magistrates in the London Borough of Ealing in 2008. The project is now also available in the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Bexley, Bromley & Brent, as well as Western & Northern Sussex Local Justice Areas.

It is aimed at deterring young people from a life of crime by making them aware of the consequences of crime not only to themselves if they become offenders, but also the effects it will have on their parents, friends and victims.

In 2014, a new DVD was produced and the programme revised to show how easily a young person can be drawn into a gang and subsequent involvement in crime.

The 'Your Life You Choose' name, logo and website are protected by copyright.
The copyright is held by Diana Dishley MBE JP.
The resources on this site can be freely downloaded for educational use only in schools & colleges.
Acknowledgement must be given and the YLYC logo and copyright must not be removed.
'Law' - the resources on this website currently set out the legal position as at March 2010, therefore users should always ensure that any subsequent changes in legal procedures are taken into account.

Testimonials from

The Right Honorable Christopher Grayling MP
former Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State for Justice

The Right Honorable Damian Green MP
former Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims

Angie Bray
(former MP for Ealing Central & Acton)

Chief Inspector Dan Thorpe

Police Sergeant Gary Brugier

Diana Dishley (Founder) and Tony Boden (Prison Officer)
awarded MBEs in February 2013 for their contributions to the YLYC Project

Christopher Grayling

Rt. Hon. Christopher Grayling MP


"I was very impressed and encouraged by the good work I saw YLYC doing with young people in schools in Ealing. Prevention has to be better than cure and that's why stopping young people entering the criminal justice system is a priority for this Government. Having all the different teams, the Police, Youth Offending Service, Victim Support, Prison Officers and the Magistrates all working together locally to steer young people away from a life of crime is a real strength of the project.

Most kids aren't looking to get into trouble or join a gang, but there will always be a small number at risk of being led astray. The number of first time entrants into the youth justice system has fallen dramatically in recent years, but if we're to keep that trend on a downward slope we need the local know-how and joined-up thinking that projects like YLYC offer. I wish them all the best for the future."

Rt. Hon Damian Green MP

Rt. Hon. Damian Green MP

on 25th March 2014 for the Policy Exchange Event for Magistrates Reform

"We shouldn't underestimate the vital role Magistrates play in building public confidence and a better understanding of how the justice system works. They help ensure that justice doesn't become too remote from the people it is there to protect.

They can also have an impact in helping to deter the young people in their communities away from crime. An excellent example of this is Your Life You Choose - a multi-agency initiative which has been driven by Magistrates in Ealing. This delivers a one day presentation for pupils in local schools aimed at deterring young people from a life of crime by making them aware of the consequences of crime not only to themselves if they become offenders, but also the effect it will have on their parents, friends and victims.

What is so impressive about this campaign is the way it presents so clearly the likely consequences for those who make the wrong choice. Official figures demonstrate that it really is having an impact."

Angie Bray former MP for Ealing Central & Acton

Angie Bray MP

(former MP for Ealing Central & Acton)

"Your Life You Choose is proving a very effective campaign amongst young people at school who often find themselves having to decide whether to fall in with a peer group getting into trouble or to steer a clear path away from the temptation. What this campaign does so well is to present in the cleares form possible what the consequences are likely to be for those who make the wrong choice. Official figures demonstrate that it really is having an impact. Meanwhile, knowing that the team, ranging from Magistrates to Victim Support staff and to Poice and Prison officers, give their time to the campaign in their spare time, we should all be very grateful to them for all the hard work they are putting in to help keep our young people on the right track."


"In over 20 years service, YLYC is the most effective and interactive schools project I have experienced. Although it's impossible to measure, I'm sure it's played a huge part in reducing youth related gang violence on the Borough of Ealing over the last few years."

Ealing Youth Justice Service

"I am very proud to be part of the YLYC delivery team. A key part of my role is to impact upon the levels of youth crime in Ealing. A great deal of effort is put in by the police and crucially many other agencies to prevent young people from embarking or continuing on a criminal career.

The statistics show that it is working:
During the 2007/8 financial year there were 930 youth convictions. For 2011/12 there were 528; a reduction of 43%

Over the same period the number of first time entrants into the Criminal Justice System fell from 398 to 178, a reduction of 55%

YLYC is delivered to an age group that is almost entirely still at mainstream school and still receptive to messages from those of us who are considered to be the 'authorities'.

As a police officer, primary school children will wave and smile at you; high school children generally do not. The YLYC material is pitched at an appropriate level, and in a way that the pupils can relate to.

YLYC has run in its present form for the five year period I used for the statistics and we are at the happy stage where the vast majority of Ealing High School children have participated. I am absolutely certain that YLYC has contributed in a significant way to the local reductions in youth crime.

For me the key strengths of YLYC are:

- that there are very clear messages about personal responsibility, about resisting negative influence and about seeking help,

- that there is an opportunity in a universal programme to increase resilience to gang related activity.

- and that the pupils are reminded how important they are to us all."

Boris Johnson

Pam Ullstein JP & Rita Golden JP
with Boris Johnson at the Mayor of London's community reception promoting YLYC.
Sept. 2013

Who are involved?
Magistrates, Police, Prison Officer, Probation Officer, Victim Support, Youth Offending Service and Ex-Offenders.

Who is it organised by?
A committee of members from each of the participating groups led by Ealing Magistrates in the Community.
Project Leader : Mrs Pam Ullstein JP –

Why is it useful to you?
It addresses the following sections from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority [QCA] Programme of Study
– Key Stage 3 Citizenship Curriculum: 1a,f. 2a,b,c. 3a,b,c

The whole day programme includes
1. A DVD showing how easily a young person can be drawn into gang culture, and the effect it has on their family and their lives
2. Workshops throughout the day delivered by Magistrates, Police, Prison Officers, Youth Offending Service and Victim Support. (This can be subject to availability of local teams)
3. Plenary session, including a short DVD on how gang culture has touched the lives of an A&E consultant, an ex-gang member and the mother of a victim.


Resource material (downloads currently being up-dated)
The following downloadable content includes everything you need to prepare and run a YOUR LIFE YOU CHOOSE presentation day together with additional material and lesson plans. Click on one of the titles to learn more.


Planning guide written by a teacher for teachers. Gives step-by-step planning points and proforma for timetabling and room guides plus post presentation evaluation forms for teachers and pupils.


Written by Youth Court Clerk who looks at where and how young people are dealt with and what is involved in the various orders of the court. Also when and why orders may be made against parents and what orders can be made.


Expanding on the presentation day material this includes the triangle of court hierarchy, what the various courts do and how they are manned. A plan of a courtroom and the sentencing guidelines for robbery of a small business are also included.


A lesson plan looking at a robbery and the use of Immobilise together with a script for a two scene robbery scenario. Aimed at giving students the answer to ‘how can I protect myself?’ and ‘what do I do if I’m attacked?’


Looking at a day in the life of a prisoner and a plan for a discussion session about the effects of custody.


A bank of information and activities related to considering the position of victims of crime. Trigger points for discussion and creative work together with a word search are included.


Who Ealing Youth Offending Service (YOS) are and what they do. Looking at the court disposals that will involve the work of YOS.