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The Youth Justice System

November 11, 2019 November 2019 No Comments

Maybe you or someone you know has been referred to the Youth Justice System(different to the adult court system). Youth Justice is about getting you to face up to what you have done wrong, and give you a chance to make up for it. When we are young we often act impulsively and do not always make the right choices. This can result in you getting a criminal record, something that will affect your whole life. The Youth Justice tries to stop this from happening. 

If you have committed an offence, one of the first steps the Police may take is to ask you to go to a family group conference. At the conference you and your family will have a chance to talk about what has happened, and help you make a plan to fix things. The conference will be run by a Youth Justice Co-ordinator who will also chat with you before the conference begins. You have the chance to tell them about your problems, ask any questions you may have, and discuss ways you can sort out ways to make amends for what you have done.

The conference will likely be attended by the victim of your crime, and other people who have been affected by your actions. Attending as well will be people who will try to help you. These may include the Police, a Youth Advocate who will act as your lawyer, Social Worker, or someone from the education sector. The victim has a chance to tell you how the crime has affected them, and here is your chance to say sorry. Be respectful and listen to what people have to say.

You should not underestimate the importance of your reactions at the conference. Remember the aim is to come up with a solution that will put things right. The people attending will come up with a plan which will have clear tasks for you to complete. These will include a practical way for you to make amends for what you have done, like doing community service or maybe getting a part time job to help pay towards any damage. Try to agree to the plan that is suggested. It is designed to help you to not offend again. If you agree and do all the things they ask of you, you will be able to move on without a criminal record.

They will also try to find ways to help you keep out of trouble in the future, by setting goals, providing anger management classes, or giving alcohol and drug support.

However, all of the above is assuming that you have agreed that you committed the offence. If you do not admit it, then it is likely your case will be referred on to the Courts. Then if you are found guilty, a criminal record is very likely.

For further information refer to www.orangtamariki.govt.nz or call in to talk with us at Wairarapa Citizens Advice Bureau 43 Perry St, Masterton

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