Restorative Justice

This document explains what restorative justice involves, for you and your family.

What is restorative justice?

Restorative justice is a good way of making amends for harm which has been caused to others.

There are many different ways of doing this, and we use them to make up individual programmes for each situation, aimed at:

  • restoring (giving back) the victim’s peace of mind and material losses
  • restoring (giving back) the young person’s self - control and respect for others
  • restoring (giving back) trust and commitment towards the young person

We know that this approach often works more quickly, and more effectively, than the use of traditional punishments.

However, it is not a soft option. It needs the young person to face up to the consequences of their behaviour and take personal responsibility for putting it right.

Another important principle is that Restorative Justice is not only to help the young offenders. Helping the victim will always be just as important.

What does it involve?

Direct reparation

Doing practical work to repair the damage done, or to help the victim in another way. This may be done with a YJS worker, or under other supervision.

Indirect reparation

Undertaking practical work for the community, to put right the trouble caused. This is different to Unpaid Work because it is always done individually, and will be something related to your offence.

Indirect apology

Many victims do not wish to meet the young people who have hurt them. We often arrange for written or video-taped apologies to be provided in these cases so that you can say sorry.

Family group conferencing

A meeting for the whole family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. YJS staff, social workers, teachers, etc. are there to help, but the family decide how they will punish and then help their child.

Victim/offender mediation

A face-to-face meeting where the young offender has to listen to the hurt and loss they have caused the victim, and find a way to put it right.

Referral panels

A referral panel is made up of trained members of the local community, who are helped by the youth justice service. Courts can refer young offenders to the panel, where they have to agree a programme to change their behaviour. During the programme, panel members and youth justice service staff will monitor the young person’s progress.

Information for victims?

Many victims find it helpful to be involved in dealing with the offender. They get back a sense of control and their fear of crime goes down, especially if they see that the offender is frightened, ashamed and genuinely sorry.

Although we recommend this approach, no victim will ever have any restorative process forced upon them. Youth justice service staff and victim liaison officers will carefully explain every stage, and the wishes, needs and privacy of the victim will always be the most important thing.

The North Yorkshire youth justice service is

  • made up of expert staff from children’s social care, police, probation, education and health
  • working in active partnership with local agencies and communities to prevent offending by young people
  • committed to rigorous national standards for the supervision and management of young offenders in the community
  • sensitive to the needs and rights of victims, and working to the code of practice for victims of crime
  • committed to treating all service users with respect, fairness, honesty and dignity
  • committed to fair treatment regardless of race, religion, culture, disability or sexual orientation

If you would like more information, or if you wish to complain about any youth justice system service you have received, please contact us.

Andy Dukes
Youth Justice Team Manager