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Victim and Offender Satisfaction with Youth Justice Conferences 

               

Click here for the full report (pdf 581Kb) and Appendix (pdf 496Kb)

Release date: 15 August 2013, Thursday 9.30am

Victims of juvenile crime and juvenile offenders have given the thumbs up to Youth Justice Conferencing, according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The Bureau surveyed 141 victims of juvenile crime and 263 juvenile offenders immediately following their participation in a Youth Justice Conference. Ninety-six victims also participated in a phone-based survey four months after the conference. When asked immediately following the conference, more than 85 per cent of offenders and victims reported being 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with most aspects of the conference. High levels of satisfaction with conferencing were also reported by victims 4 months after the conference.

In some instances, however, the percentage of victims who were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' was not as high at the 4-month follow-up as it was in the baseline survey.

The aspect of conferencing that victims at the 4-month follow-up reported the least satisfaction with was the lack of feedback they received from conference staff about the offender's completion of the outcome plan.

Fewer than half of the victims were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with this part of the conference.

The results of this study suggest that victim and offender satisfaction is high immediately following a YJC and generally remains high for the victims four months later.

Satisfaction levels may be increased still further if, at some point prior to the end of the statutory time period for completing the outcome plan, victims were provided with feedback about the offender's progress towards completing the outcome plan.

Commenting on the findings, the director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that past research by the Bureau had found no evidence conferencing was any more or less effective in reducing juvenile re-offending than court.

"Most of the victims who were interviewed about their participation in a Youth Justice Conference regarded the experience as a valuable one and would recommend it to other victims," he said.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231 9190

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au