Somerset County Council is urging schools across Somerset to introduce restorative justice to help deal with wrong-doing, conflict and harmful behaviour after success of a similar scheme across the county.
Restorative justice involves the person who has caused the harm taking responsibility for their actions and facing the consequences. The approach acknowledges the way people have been affected, and in some cases, brings everyone involved in a dispute together in a Restorative Conference. An agreement is then reached to try and allow all concerned to continue their school life safely and put the harm behind them.
New schools are being encouraged to join the scheme by the council's youth offending team and implement restorative approaches in a bid to have a consistent, county-wide approach.
Tom Whitworth, Manager of the youth offending team said: "Restorative Justice is a very effective approach which can not only resolve immediate issues, but also help young people understand how to deal better with conflicts that arise in the future. "Many young offenders come to police attention because they are unable to deal in acceptable ways with the problems they encounter in life; anything that can help with this must be welcomed."
Cllr Pauline Clarke, in charge of children's services at the council, said: "Somerset County Council is working towards safer communities and to ensure children and young people can achieve their full potential. "Young people, parents and staff directly involved in the restorative conferences frequently tell us how positive the experience was for them."
4 October 2007