YOTs have a statutory duty to comply with the code of practice for victims of crime.
The obligations of the code apply to direct victims, not third parties or indirect victims such as witnesses.
Parents or guardians of young victims under 17 (as long as they aren’t themselves the subject of investigation or charge) can receive services under the code as well as the young person.
Under 17-year-old victims are defined as vulnerable and qualify for an enhanced level of service.
In cases involving young offenders the police must pass the victim’s contact details to the YOT to give victims access to reparation or other restorative justice processes, unless the victim asks the police not to do so.
YOTs should review and update protocols with local police to ensure this is done efficiently. The YOT must also decide if it would be appropriate to invite the victim to be involved in a restorative justice intervention and record the reasons for this decision.
Voluntary engagement in a restorative process
When making contact with victims, the YOT must explain its role and allow victims to make informed choices about whether they want to be involved. Victims’ involvement must always be voluntary. They mustn’t be asked to do anything that is primarily for the benefit of the offender.
Victims may choose not to receive services under the code at any time. The code states that the criminal justice system as a whole should be flexible and ensure victims receive the level of service they want.
Keep victims informed
If the victim agrees to be involved directly or indirectly in a YOT restorative process, the YOT must keep the victim informed as requested about the progress of the case and notify them when the intervention has concluded.
YOTs may also wish to offer victims who choose not to be involved in a restorative process the option of receiving this information – this is not, however, a code requirement. The code sets out obligations for all criminal justice services to ensure victims receive information about their crime within a specified time.
Information about services for victims
If victims ask for additional help, the YOT must give them access to information about local services providing advice, information and support to victims of crime. They should do this at any time during or after a restorative process