A key aim of the Youth Justice system is to protect the public by preventing offending by children. In support of this, the Youth Justice Agency is fully committed to working with victims of youth crime and taking account of their views of the process and its outcome.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) launched its Victims Charter on 14 January 2015. The Youth Justice Agency is a member of the DoJ Victim Witness Steering Group who devised and developed this charter in conjunction with DoJ officials and partner agencies. The charter represents a collective response from all criminal justice agencies on how victims can expect to be treated should they come in contact with our services. A range of supporting documentation, including a young person's guide to the charter, has also been published.
The Youth Justice Agency has its own Victims Charter (updated May 2013) which is in keeping with the DoJ Charter but outlines our policy and procedures in working with victims of youth crime. It provides guidance on treating victims according to their particular needs, both as victims and as an individual. It also takes account of vulnerable victims and the need to consider cultural, racial, religious and sexual identities of victims.
The Criminal Justice Review recommended that restorative justice should be integrated into the juvenile justice system in Northern Ireland using a youth conference model based in statute [the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002]. This innovative and inclusive approach to restorative justice has, for the first time, given the victim a meaningful role in the outcome of an offence.
Restorative practices have been integrated into a wide range of Agency services although these are delivered primarily through our youth conferencing process which which aims to balance the needs of the victim and the young offender by agreeing plans of action which satisfy the victim and create opportunities for the young person to make amends and stop committing crime.
The Agency offers specific information for victims in the form of the following information leaflets:-