NI: Youth Justice Agency highlights restorative justice approach

Declan McGeown
Declan McGeown

The chief executive of the Youth Justice Agency (YJA) has highlighted the Agency’s restorative approach to young offenders to mark the start of Restorative Justice Week.

Declan McGeown spoke out yesterday at the start of the internationally recognised event, which runs until 26 November.

Mr 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.”

However, Mr McGeown said restorative practice within the Agency “also extends beyond the innovative youth conference process”.

He said: “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.

“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.”

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