Young Offenders Act
Youth justice conferencing brings the offenders, their families and the victims together, face-to-face. Together, the offender and victim must agree on a suitable outcome that can range from an apology to reimbursement or community work.
Conference administrators employ conference conveners on a contractual basis when needed.
Conveners are respected adults with sensitivity, common sense, and a demonstrated ability for dealing with young people. The Department of Juvenile Justice specially trains them for this role.
The Young Offenders Act 1997 provides a framework for how to run a youth justice conference. The conference process is flexible and open to the discretion of the convener. Here is a description of how a convener may choose to run a conference.
|The convener asks those present to introduce themselves and state why they are there.|
|The young offender outlines what occurred as he/she sees it. If there are any important omissions the convener may interject.|
|The convener asks the victim to talk about how the incident has affected him/her.|
|The convener invites the offender’s family or supporters to talk about their thoughts on what happened.|
|The convener then asks the victim to relay what they believe to be a fair outcome. The young offender considers an outcome with his or her family or supporters.|
|The conference resumes and everyone decides what should happen. This is called the outcome plan. Both offender and victim must agree to this plan.|
|The convener asks for people to be nominated to advise him on the implementation of the plan.If the outcome plan is not completed, the conference can be reconvened to discuss the problems.|