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Youth Justice Group Conferencing

Youth Justice Group Conferencing is a program based on restorative justice principles that provides a community rehabilitation intervention to the Children’s Court, with the aim of diverting a young person from more intensive supervisory court outcomes. It uses a problem-solving approach to offending that facilitates dialogue between individuals who have offended, their victims and the wider community.

Program Aims:

 Raise the young person’s understanding of the impact of their offending

 Reduce the frequency and seriousness of re-offending

 Improve the young person’s connection to family/significant others/community

 Negotiate an outcome plan to make amends for their offending

 Increase victim satisfaction with the criminal justice process

 Divert the young person from a more intensive sentence

 

Suitability Criteria:

Young people suitable for Group Conferencing include those aged 10 and up to 18 years of age appearing in the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court who have:

 

  •  been found guilty of offences that do not include homicide, manslaughter and sex offences, and
  •  committed offences that warrant a sentence supervised by the youth justice service, and
  •  committed offences no longer than twelve months prior to the finding of guilt, or, in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the court, and
  •  been assessed by the Department of Health & Human Services Youth Justice Service, and consented to participate

Victim participation in a Group Conference is voluntary, with victims encouraged by the convenor to be supported at the group conference by a family member, friend or a Victims Support Agency support person.

 

What happens during a Group Conference?

All participants, in particular the young person and the victim, have the opportunity to tell their story of what happened and how the offence has affected them.

When all people have had the opportunity to tell their story, participants are invited to provide suggestions about how the young person might repair the harm caused by their offending and prevent further offending.

Click here for further information http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/children,-families-and-young-people/youth-justice/youth-justice-group-conferencing