Restorative Practice at the heart of the youth justice system

Date published: 20 November 2017

Restorative justice has the power to change behaviours of young people who offend, their victims and the communities within which they live.

This was the message from Youth Justice Chief Executive Declan McGeown at the beginning of Restorative Justice Week, an internationally recognised event running from 19-26 November.

Declan McGeown said: “Restorative practice is at the heart of the work of the Youth Justice Agency in Northern Ireland. It provides young people with an opportunity to play an active part in the resolution and repair of the harm caused by their actions. But importantly, it also gives victims a much needed voice that is sometimes absent from the traditional justice process. Communities too can benefit from the reparation work undertaken which can often help restore broken relationships.

“But restorative practice within the Youth Justice Agency also extends beyond the innovative youth conference process,” continued Declan.

“We deliver workshops in schools and children’s homes about the benefits in working through problems and issues restoratively and how this approach delivers long lasting results. The Agency also works restoratively with young people and their families in addressing relationship difficulties and with communities in supporting reintegration where perhaps relationships have broken down.

He added: “All these practices are delivered by committed and passionate Youth Justice Agency staff, who, firmly believe that restorative justice has the power to change behaviours and improve how we relate to each other.”

To find about more about the Youth Justice Agency and Restorative Justice Week, go to:

Notes to editors: 

  1. Restorative Justice Week is an international event running from 19-26 November 2017. This year’s theme is Inspiring Innovation.
  2. The Youth Justice Agency aims to make communities safer by helping children to stop offending. The Agency works with children aged 10-17 years who have offended or are at serious risk of offending and provides a range of services, often delivered in partnership with others, to help children to address their offending behaviour, divert them from crime, assist their integration into the community and to meet the needs of victims of crime.
  3. Youth Justice Agency offices are located in Belfast, Newtownards, Ballymena, Banbridge, Londonderry, Enniskillen and Dungannon.
  4. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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