Victims of youth crime
Derby Youth Justice Service (YJS) has a duty to ensure contact is made with all victims of youth crime to provide them with information about the outcome of the case and offer them the opportunity to participate in an appropriate Restorative Justice Process.
Participation in a Restorative Justice process is entirely voluntary and victims do not have to participate. If victims do not wish to meet with the offender directly, their views can be represented by a YJS worker, who will support and keep them informed throughout their involvement. Victims are also able to consider, where appropriate, the type of reparation work the young person should carry out, either directly to them - direct reparation - or for the local community - indirect reparation.
Restorative justice can play an important role in helping victims by giving them a voice and by reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. The aim of Restorative Justice is to bring victims, offenders and communities together to decide on a response to a particular crime. It is about putting victims' needs at the centre of the criminal justice system and finding positive solutions to crime by encouraging offenders to face up to their actions.
Restorative justice can play an important role in reducing re-offending 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. Where appropriate, all young people who come through the Youth Justice System and are given a Court Order are assessed for participation in a restorative justice intervention.
Restorative Justice Interventions may include:
- A direct meeting - this involves the victim and offender meeting face to face under controlled circumstances where all parties are assessed as suitable. This can be with one victim and one offender, or with groups of people that have been affected by an offence. Another example of a direct meeting is the victim attending a Referral Order Panel and having direct communication with the offender.
- An indirect intervention - this could be by letter, passing information through the Victim Worker, or the victim being represented at a Referral Order Panel. Essentially this is any form of communication that is assessed as appropriate that is not face to face.
- Reparation - this can be a restorative intervention, as it can be direct to the victim or something within the local community that is informed by the victim. Reparation is a practical way for young offenders to pay back for the harm caused by their offence.