07 February 2006

Restorative justice is under the spotlight

Daily Ireland


A conference on youth restorative justice will be held in Belfast next month. The Youth Conference Service, part of the Youth Justice Agency for Northern Ireland, will host the international conference from March 7 to 9. Leading speakers and delegates from as far afield as Hong Kong, New Zealand and Romania will discuss and debate youth restorative practices and share experiences of delivering effective restorative approaches across a wide range of jurisdictions.

The key speaker will be chief district court judge David J Carruthers from New Zealand. Judge Carruthers was one of the pioneers in developing and implementing a restorative justice model in New Zealand, the first country to introduce the model into its criminal justice system.

Announcing details of the conference, Alice Chapman, director of the Youth Conference Service, said: “Under the theme of ‘shifting the power to young people, families, victims and neighbourhoods’, the conference is a way for speakers and delegates to share best-practice methods in youth restorative justice. This provides us with an opportunity to showcase our own world-class service.

“Various sectors from Northern Ireland have already signed up for the conference, including community safety, local government and education, criminal justice, statutory and voluntary organisations, victims groups, legal and business communities and many more.”

In the North, the Youth Conference Service aims to facilitate restorative justice meetings involving the victim, young offender, families and the community in making an agreement on what can be done to put right the harm caused.

An independent evaluation report of the statutory youth conference scheme in the North will be launched at next month’s conference. The event is open to the public and a limited number of places are still available. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis upon payment of the appropriate registration fee.

Further information can be obtained on the website www.youthconferenceserviceni.gov.uk or by calling the Belfast number (028/048) 9031 6422.

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