It is a key aim of current youth justice policy to introduce principles of restorative justice and involve victims in responses to crime. This is most evident in the referral order and youth offender panels established by the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. However, the challenges involved in delivering a form of restorative youth justice that is sensitive to the needs of victims are considerable.
This report provides an illuminating evaluation of the manner in which one Youth Offending Service sought to integrate victims into the referral order process. The study affords in-depth insights into the experiences and views of victims and young people who attended youth offender panel meetings. It places these in the context of recent policy debates and principles of restorative justice.
The report tracks a 6 month cohort of cases in 2004; provides an analysis of in-depth interviews with victims, young offenders and their parents; highlights the challenges associated with integrating victims into restorative youth justice; offers recommendations with regard to the involvement of victims in referral orders.
This timely report will be of great value to youth justice policy-makers and practitioners, researchers and students of criminology and criminal justice, as well as all those interested in restorative interventions and the role of victims in the justice process.
Adam Crawford is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds. Tom Burden is a Principal Research Fellow at the Policy Research Institute at the Leeds Metropolitan University.
Summary; Introductions; Research aims and methods; The Youth Offending Services in Leeds; Victims' experiences; Young peoples' experiences; Contracts and compliance; Conclusions.