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Restorative justice and reparation

''Actively involving victims of crime committed by young offenders in the youth justice process and helping them to get over any harm done, link to the key elements of the Youth Justice Board's aims and objectives, including improving public confidence in the Criminal Justice System.

This is usually called 'restorative justice'. The restorative approach is essentially a structured way of resolving problems between people, caused by someone breaking a law, in a non-adversarial way. They can take place alongside, as part of, or instead of, certain formal criminal justice proceedings.

''It is participative, so all the parties directly affected by an offence are given the opportunity to contribute to decision-making about what needs to be done (although the victim has no responsibility for sentencing decisions). The resolution aims to make amends as far as possible. It seeks to balance the concerns of the victim and the community with the need to reintegrate the offender into society.

Different models of restorative work are available to enable a flexible response to be made dependant on the differing needs of each situation. A wide range of activities and undertakings are possible and include mediation and conferencing. Reparation can include:

  • an apology
  • financial reparation
  • work to make good any damage
  • work for a community cause, (ideally nominated by the victim if this is what they want)
  • agreement as to the young person's future conduct

The Witness Charter

The Witness Charter is a set of 34 standards which set out the level of service that witnesses can expect to receive at every stage of the criminal justice process. It covers the moment they report a crime or incident through to giving evidence at court and post-trial support.

The charter provides applies to all who provide services to witnesses in criminal proceedings, including:

  • The police 
  • Witness Care Units 
  • The Crown Prosecution Service
  • Her Majesty's Courts Service 
  • The Witness Service
  • Criminal defence lawyers

It is non-statutory, but it builds on the introduction of other policies such as:

  • The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
  • Witness care units under the 'No Witness, No Justice' project.

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