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Youth Offending Services across England and Wales have for the past 10 years increasingly adopted a restorative approach to the administration of youth justice. Restorative Justice (RJ) is characterised by an inclusive and flexible approach to justice which is more concerned with resolving conflict and the re-empowerment of the victim which is also likely to result in the ‘offender’ being able to accept personal responsibility.
Leeds YOS has a Restorative Justice team consisting of a manager, a co-ordinator, victim workers and reparation staff. The team is also involved in providing training for YOS staff, volunteers and wider areas of children’s services provision. Leeds Children’s Services promotes restorative practices (of which RJ is a part) in all work areas and has a strategic aim to ensure that all Children’s Services' practitioners are properly trained and equipped to be able to deliver services to children and families in a restorative manner.
Reparation is an opportunity for a young person to repair the damage caused by their offending and carry out a positive activity in the community. Most young people involved with the Youth Offending Service engage in some sort of reparation, which gives them the chance to say sorry and do something to prove it. The work undertaken is anything from environmental clean ups or litter picking to helping people with disabilities or delivering leaflets for a charity. Providing the opportunity for young people to make a positive contribution in this way can help reassure victims and can reduce the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour.
To see some examples of reparation work carried out by young people with Leeds YOS please click the downloads tab below.