County Council Receives National Seal of Approval for Restorative JusticeConsistent good practice in its work with young people, and those harmed by youth offending has earned Hampshire County Council’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) the Restorative Services Quality Mark, from the Restorative Justice Council (RJC).

The Restorative Service Quality Mark indicates that an organisation is working effectively for the benefit of those harmed by offending behaviour, and that practitioners work in line with the RJC’s Good Practice Guide and the Victim Code.

Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, commented: “This quality mark is an impressive achievement and recognises all the hard work of our Youth Offending Team in developing services that help accommodate the needs of the victims of offences committed by children and young people.

“Research shows that restorative justice not only delivers positive outcomes in the criminal justice system for those harmed by crime, but when it’s done well, it can also change lives. It offers the victim the chance to be heard, and gives them the opportunity to ask for some answers that can help them come to terms with what’s happened. For the young person, it’s also an opportunity to offer an explanation for their actions and provide an apology to the victim.”

Restorative justice is an integral element of the Hampshire YOT’s work. It can take several forms, such as a direct meeting between a young offender and their victim, a letter of apology, community work, or a request for direct reparation by the young person, e.g. to mend property damaged by their crime.

To achieve the quality mark, members of the County Council’s YOT, their partner agencies, a young person, victims and volunteers were interviewed by an assessor to demonstrate their commitment and provide evidence against a number of key criteria including:

• Leadership

• Strategy, policies and plans

• Working together

• People, training and support

• Service delivery and users

• Monitoring, evaluation and performance improvement

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