Restorative justice puts the victim of an offence at the heart of the youth justice system, where appropriate restorative justice can play an important role in reducing re-offending.

Also by helping victims, it increases public confidence in the youth justice system by:

  • Holding young people to account so that they will take part in repairing the harm they have caused and will learn from the experience
  • Giving victims a voice and reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Engaging members of the local community
  • Reinforcing parental responsibility

Restorative justice is not a soft option; many offenders find it extremely difficult to face the consequences of their crimes. Research shows that most victims who participate in some form of restorative justice find it helpful and are satisfied with the outcome.

Once a young person has been sentenced at court, a 'victim coordinator' will make contact with the victim to explain the sentence the young person has received and to offer support to the victim that may go someway toward repairing the harm that has resulted from the offence.

Victims are offered a range of opportunities to take part in the restorative justice process, these can include:

  • Face to face meetings with young people who committed an offence against them at either the referral panel meeting or at a later date
  • Mediation between the victim and offender either face to face or through the victim coordinator
  • The victim can agree to receive a letter of apology or explanation
  • The offender can form a specific task or unpaid work directly for the victim

If the victim does not want to be part of any restorative justice processes or there is no clear victim. The young person will be given a number of hours of unpaid work (reparation) to make amends for their offence to complete in the community.

The Youth Offending Service (YOS) welcome suggestions for reparation tasks from the community that meet the following minimum criteria:

  • It will benefit the local community
  • It will not take paid work away from others
  • No one will make a profit from the work
  • It will be worthwhile and constructive
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