If you are a victim of a crime, you may be invited to take part in a restorative justice process. This provides the opportunity for those directly affected by an offence – victim, offender and members of the community – to communicate and agree how to deal with the offence and its consequences.
Restorative processes typically result in the offender making practical amends (reparation) to repair the harm – this may include an apology. Communication between victim and offender can help victims put the offence behind them and be more satisfied with the outcome.
Restorative justice is an important part of youth justice orders and sentences, from youth conditional caution and community orders.
The best known and most commonly used restorative processes are:
- The victim and offender, helped by an independent person, communicate with one another. This may be by direct meeting or, if preferred by either the victim or the offender, indirectly with the third person acting as ‘go between’ in a ‘shuttle mediation’. Questions may be asked, information exchanged and an agreement reached.
- Supporters, as well as the victim and offender, meet together in a conference run by a trained person. At the end, agreements are made that set out what the offender will do to deal with the harm done.
Family group conferencing
- The young person who has offended, with members of his/her extended family, meet with the victim and supporters of the victim and possibly representatives of agencies, such as social services and schools. The meeting is run by an independent third person and after all views have been stated, the family have a private meeting time to create a plan, which is then put to the whole conference for acceptance.
Referral order youth offender panels
- First-time convicted young offenders and parents meet with trained community volunteer panel members to discuss the offence and its consequences and agree a contract to repair the harm and address the causes of offending behaviour. Victims are invited to attend or have their views put before the panel.
Reparation orders are designed to help young offenders understand the consequences of their offending and take responsibility for their behaviour. They require the young person to repair the harm caused by their offence either directly to the victim or indirectly to the community. Examples of this might be cleaning up graffiti or undertaking community work. The order is overseen by Bradford YOT.