We respect the needs and rights of victims, and offer them support and information.
Our aim is to prevent and reduce offending by young people in our area. We believe the best way to do this is to make sure young people who commit crimes take responsibility for the harm they have caused their victims. Restorative justice allows the offender to make amends to their victim and the community. We support victims to meet with their offender, to explain the real impact of the crime. Victims of crime who are considering taking part in this will have their needs and wishes taken into account and will be fully supported in any choices they make. Participation in the process is completely voluntary.
A film for victims of crime explaining the different points in the criminal justice system where they can access restorative justice. It also tells victims where they can get more information.
Restorative justice gives you, the victim a chance to ask the offender questions or tell them how their behaviour has affected you. It can help you to gain closure and have peace of mind. It can also be an opportunity to have put right the harm you have suffered. Government research demonstrates that restorative justice provides an 85% victim satisfaction rate and a 14% reduction in the frequency of reoffending.
You will usually be contacted by your local victim liaison officer. They will provide information about the outcome of the case. You will then be offered the opportunity to participate in restorative justice. This could include receiving a letter of apology from the young person or a face to face meeting with the offender to inform them what affect the offence had on you.
If you do not wish to meet the offender, your views can be represented by the victim liaison officer, who will support and inform you throughout the process. You may wish to consider the type of reparation the young person should carry out, the reparation could be for you (direct reparation) or for the wider community (indirect).
Victim Support (North Yorkshire) can be contacted on 01904 669276 should you require their services or further support.
If you are a victim or witness in a forthcoming court case, useful information is available from Supporting Victims North Yorkshire.
The National Victim Support Line is 0808 1689111
Reparation is a key element of restorative justice, which works to resolve conflict and repair harm. Reparation is making amends to the victim, directly or through the community. This helps the young person to understand the harm they have caused, and to take responsibility. It can also give young people the chance to do something positive, hopefully giving them new skills and confidence.
Ideally the young person should do something for the victim of their offence, and this is arranged were possible on an individual basis.
However, this is not always possible so we also have other projects for young people to contribute to something that benefits the local community or a charity. The amount of reparation which young people will complete varies depending on the circumstances.
When working on reparation projects young people must attend on time and behave in a respectful and sensible manner. They must also do what is asked to the best of their ability. If they do not they may have to go back to court.
All the equipment needed for the project will be provided, including safety equipment. Young people are also covered by North Yorkshire County Council’s insurance whilst on reparation and under the supervision of the youth justice service.
Below are a number of local examples of how the restorative justice process can be beneficial to all concerned.
The restorative meeting between Reverend Haynes and a young person who had committed offences at a church in Scarborough was a success. The outcome of the meeting exceeded everyone’s expectations. The young person was respectful answering all questions put to him by Reverend Haynes. The young person fully understood the harm caused by his actions. The young person has suggested several ways to directly repair the harm caused to the church. The victim stated;
"I found the whole experience very beneficial and have since spoken to many of those in the church who were affected by the thefts which took place last autumn. They are pleased that we met and that the young man has said sorry".
“The young man has also agreed to write a letter of apology to the congregation and make a poppy planter which we can display in the church. He has also asked to do some work to tidy up the grounds of an unconsecrated church close to where he is currently detained”.
The direct reparation was completed by Sam and took place at a local shop near Harrogate. The aim of the reparation was to make amends for offences committed at the store previously.
During the reparation a member of the public, a lady who lives locally, said that the work Sam had done a few weeks previous has made a big difference to the area and was thankful of the hard work shown. Once the lady had left Sam reflected that the direct reparation didn’t just make a difference to the store and workers but also to the local community. The store manager was also happy about the community feedback that Sam had received.
A young person from Scarborough was given an eight month referral order and put under youth justice service supervision. Within his referral panel contract the young person agreed to undertake indirect reparation. He planned, organised and helped to run a charity football match to raise money for a local hospice which had cared for his mother.
This has given the young person a lot more confidence and skills such as organisation, communication and leadership. Through his indirect reparation it has not only given him the chance to give back to the community and pay tribute to his mother, it has given him the skills to better himself now and in the future. He has plans to enrol at a local college and carry on his great progress by doing more charity work to benefit the community.