Youth Justice Services and Teams – YOS and YOTS

What is Restorative Justice?

"Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offence and to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible."

Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Restorative Justice

What does Restorative Justice try to do?

"Restorative justice requires, at minimum, that we address victims' harms and needs, hold offenders accountable to put right those harms, and involve victims, offenders, and communities in this process." 

Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Restorative Justice

According to the Youth Justice board (YJB) -

Restorative justice provides opportunities 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.

The basic principles include:

  • putting things right and healing relationships - giving satisfaction to victims and reducing reoffending

  • ensuring that those directly affected by crime are involved in the process, and that their wishes are given careful consideration

  • setting realistic and achievable objectives that benefit the victim, community and young person

  • addressing and being sensitive to cultural and special needs, with an understanding and respect for the diversity of different communities.

The restorative justice framework

The youth justice system has responsibilities to victims of youth crime and as such, YOTs have a statutory duty to comply with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.  Read more about applying restorative practice to your work with victims.

Relevant Policy and Legislation

The NOMS and YJB Approach to Communities and Civil Renewal, sets out a strategy to reduce offending and reoffending by involving communities and victims in the justice system.

Processes

Restorative processes provide opportunities for victims, offenders and the community to communicate and agree how to deal with an incident.

The youth justice system has responsibilities to victims of youth crime and as such, YOSs have a statutory duty to comply with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.Read more about applying restorative practice to your work with victims.

Relevant policy and legislation

The Breaking the Cycle Green Paper - outlined the Government’s aims to widen the use of restorative justice, placing great emphasis on increasing the opportunities to use restorative justice approaches in the criminal justice system, whilst encouraging victim participation, in order to achieve positive outcomes.

National Standards for Youth Justice Services - include guidelines for restorative practices, particularly National Standard 7 – Working with Victims.



The Restorative Justice Council have set the standards for restorative justice practice nationally. The National Occupational Standards cover assessment, preparation, facilitation and evaluation.

The NOMS and YJB Approach to Communities and Civil Renewal, sets out a strategy to reduce offending and reoffending by involving communites and victims in the justice system.

Guidance and practice advice

The YJB’s Key Elements of Effective Practice: Restorative Justice defines the key aims or outcomes of restorative justice as:

  • victim satisfaction – reducing the fear of the victim and ensuring they feel ‘paid back’ for the harm that has been done to them

  • engagement with the young person – to ensure that they are aware of the consequences of their actions, have the opportunity to make reparation and agree a plan for their restoration in the community

  • creation of community capital – increasing public confidence in the criminal justice system.

Research and publications

Shapland, J. et al (2008) Does restorative justice affect reconviction? The fourth report from the evaluation of three schemes.

Ministry of Justice Research Series 10/08. Shapland, J et al (2007) Restorative Justice: the views of victims. The third report from the evaluation of three schemes.

Ministry of Justice Research Series 3/07. Shapland, J et al (2006) Restorative justice in practice – findings from the second phase of the evaluation of three schemes.

Shapland, J et al (2004) Implementing restorative justice schemes (Crime Reduction Programme) A report on the first year Home Office Online Report.

Sherman, Lawrence W and Strang, Heather (2007) Restorative Justice: The Evidence. London: The Smith Institute. Youth Justice Board (2011) Youth Restorative Disposal process evaluation.

For further information about developing restorative justice with your YOS or an initial discussion, please contact Mark on 07525 173258 or complete our online enquiry form.