The 1998 Crime and Disorder Act made significant changes to the youth justice system. Youth offending teams were set up throughout the country.
The teams consist of partnerships between police, children’s social care, probation, education and health services together with statutory and voluntary services.
Our aim is to reduce offending by young people in our area, and we believe the best way to do this is to ensure that young people who commit crimes are encouraged to take responsibility for the harm and loss they have caused their victims, and make amends to their victim and the community.
As a victim how could this help me?
The crime you have experienced may have left you with many questions and feelings that do not easily go away. This can be extremely upsetting and we want to do all we can to help you come to terms with the distress and loss you may have suffered.
We have found that some victims of crime often want to know the answers to questions like:
- why did it happen to me?
- does the young person realise the harm caused?
- is it going to happen again?
- why did the young person do this?
- what did their family think of their behaviour?
You could be helped in a number of ways
In the majority of cases, you will be contacted by your local victim liaison officer, who will provide you with information about the outcome of the case. You will then be offered the opportunity to participate in an appropriate restorative justice process this could include one or more of the following:
- receive a letter of apology from the young person
- be able to attend a referral order panel meeting or victim/offender mediation session, where you would have the opportunity to ask questions of the young person and let them know how the offence has affected you and others
- receive a face-to-face apology
- if you do not wish to meet with the young person your views can be represented by the victim liaison officer, who will support and keep you informed throughout your involvement with the Youth Justice Service
- you may wish to consider the type of work the young person should carry out on your behalf (direct reparation) or for the local community (indirect reparation)
Victims of crime who decide to take part 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.
There are a number of organisations that provide help for victims. These include: