Sacro Youth Restorative Justice Services

Young people charged with vandalism

  • Initials: CS and MC
  • Ages: CS 15 years old and MC 16 years old

Referral Process

CS & MC were referred to the Fife Youth Justice Service by the Youth Offender Management Group following an incident which resulted in both young people being charged with Vandalism. The offence took place at a local junior football ground in Lochore, Fife. This case was discussed at the YOMG and it was agreed that both CS and MC be referred to Sacro’s Youth Justice Service.

Initial Visits

CS and MC were visited at their home addresses by a Sacro Youth Justice Worker to allow the worker to be able to explain what the service could offer them and to ascertain if CS and MC accepted responsibility for the charge of vandalism; if they were remorseful for their actions and if they were willing to take part in the service that could be offered.

CS was visited in the presence of his mother as he was under the age of 16; however, he was soon to turn 16. CS was attending school and was working hard to achieve a good education as he had aspirations to join the RAF when he left school. CS had been referred to the Sacro Youth Justice Service previously when he was 13 for a shoplifting offence. CS had engaged with the service at that time and had also made amends by means of a letter of apology to the person harmed. In relation to the recent charge of vandalism CS accepted responsibility for his part in the offence where he had damaged part of a concrete boundary wall. CS said that the wall was already loose but that was no excuse for pulling it down. CS was fairly subdued during this visit but appeared remorseful for his actions and was willing to participate in the service.

MC was visited at his home address but as he was already 16 years old he was met without his mother being present. MC had left school and was attending a course at the Benarty Centre which was a gateway to further education and employment. This was MC’s first offence and although he was not very forthcoming during the initial visit he did accept that he was responsible for his actions and admitting it was a stupid thing to do. MC was also willing to take part in the service.

“What Do You Think”– Discussion tool

As a pre cursor to the programme and as a way of getting to know CS and MC better and also to ascertain if there were any issues in their lives which would contribute to further incidents of offending they completed a ‘What do you Think’ form.

CS – The “What Do You Think” form highlighted that he smokes Cannabis on occasion and drinks alcohol most weekends and would get drunk with his friends at parties. CS agreed to complete a programme of work to address the referral offence and his Cannabis and Alcohol use. CS was keen to make an apology to the person harmed; therefore the restorative process was explained.

MC – There were no issues or concerns highlighted and it was agreed that MC would complete a programme of work to address the referral offence and as MC wanted to make amends to the person harmed the restorative process was explained.

Person Harmed

Person harmed details were requested from the Police Youth Issues Team and on receipt an appointment was arranged to visit the person harmed. The person harmed was a committee member of the local football team and during the initial visit he explained the impact and effects the vandalism had on himself, the football club, other committee members, players and the community. The restorative process was explained to the person harmed and after consultation with the other committee members the person harmed advised that he would be happy to meet with CS and MC at a planned restorative meeting. A further visit was planned to go over the restorative processes in more detail with the person harmed and to prepare him for the process. The person harmed also requested that CS and MC complete a reparative task at the football ground on a match day which would consist of assisting other committee members to prepare for the match by putting the goal nets up amongst other small tasks. A risk assessment was completed prior to the actual day of the reparative task and there were no risks identified in respect of health and safety concerns.

Restorative Meeting

The face to face meeting took place with CS, MC, the person harmed and two members of Sacro staff present. CS and MC explained to the person harmed what had happened and how they had become involved in vandalising the wall. CS and MC explained they had been playing football at the ground with friends and the ball kept getting kicked over the boundary wall. When they had been climbing over the wall to retrieve the ball part of the wall had become loose and this is when they made the wrong choice of pulling part of the wall down with their hands. CS and MC apologised to the person harmed for their part in the offence and assured him that it would never happen again. CS and MC told the person harmed that it was a stupid thing to do. The person harmed then explained the impact that their actions had, not only to himself but to other members of the club and the community, not only in financial terms but in an emotional sense too. CS and MC took on board what had been explained to them and it was obvious they were feeling embarrassed and remorseful for their actions. An action plan was subsequently agreed upon when the person harmed requested a reparative task be completed as described.

Victim Awareness Programme

At the initial programme sessions both CS and MC completed a FACTS exercise using the Before, During and After model which allowed them to identify the facts surrounding the offence and to allow them to identify when different choices could have been made. This would also be used as an explanation for the person harmed when it came to the face to face meeting.

During the second working sessions CS and MC completed ‘The Ripple Effect’ (consequences) which encouraged them to highlight who had been affected by the offence and to allow CS and MC to reflect on how and to what degree others have been affected. This session also demonstrated how one offence has significant impact on others and to develop empathy.

At the final sessions CS and MC worked through the FUTURE (Staircase of Intervention) which enabled them to look to their future, to highlight consequences of further offending and explain the escalation process in the Youth/Criminal Justice Systems. This lead on to discussions about the differences between charges and convictions and how criminal convictions can impact on life and career choices.

Invaluable preparatory work was carried out over two sessions with both CS and MC for the restorative meeting with the person harmed ensuring they understood the process involved and were fully advised and prepared of what to expect and what was expected of them.

Alcohol and Cannabis Awareness Raising Session

CS took part in Cannabis and Alcohol awareness raising session. CS was made aware and given information of the health risks involved in the misuse of cannabis and alcohol; behaviour changes; units and measures of alcohol and the legal aspects of alcohol and cannabis misuse. CS was also sign posted to “Clued Up” for further support should he feel it would be beneficial for him.

Outcome

CS and MC engaged and fully co-operated during their involvement with the service and took part in restorative meeting with the person harmed, completed a reparative task at the football ground supervised by two members of the Sacro Youth Justice Team as well as completing programme work as mentioned above. The person harmed fully appreciated their involvement and was satisfied with the overall outcome. CS and MC are keen footballers themselves and they have been invited to go along to the football club in the spring to take part in training with a possibility of joining the club at junior level when they are old enough. CS and MC appeared to appreciate this sincere invitation and have advised they will take up the offer.