The number of youths in Wigan entering the criminal justice system has dropped a record 82% since 2005, according to new figures.
Less than 100 young people have fallen foul of the law in the borough in 2013/14, with Wigan Council’s restorative justice service playing a part in pushing the figures down.
The figures show that 94 young people entered the criminal justice system for the first time over the last year, and 140 victims were offered the opportunity to meet their attackers and engage in a restorative intervention.
Stuart Wrudd, Chief Inspector for Greater Manchester Police, said: “Placing the victim at the heart of this process allows us to ensure that their concerns are addressed first and foremost.
“It also allows us to break the repeat cycle that many young people find themselves in after making their first mistake, while ensuring they understand the repercussions and devastating impact relatively low level crime and anti-social behaviour can have.”
By working alongside Greater Manchester Police, Wigan Council’s restorative solutions team has managed to reduce the number of young people entering the criminal justice system by 82% since 2005/06.
Restorative justice not only gives victims of crime the opportunity to meet with those responsible, but also gives them the power to decide what the punishment should be.
One such victim was Patricia Dawber of Beech Hill, who was attacked on her way to work early one morning, decided to meet her attackers faced to face.
She said: “I’m glad I decided to meet up with my attackers. While I am still not 100% confident, it has helped to repair some of the damage they have done and has helped to get rid of anger too.
“I’d certainly encourage others to take part in the restorative solutions process.”
Wigan Council has been offering a restorative justice service to victims of youth crime, for more than a decade.
Studies have shown that high levels of victim satisfaction have a positive impact on reducing reoffending.
Alongside the restorative justice plans, Wigan council have also signposted diversionary activities for young people in their area to combat anti-social behaviour.
Last year, 3,332 visits were made to these activities by young people.
Anne Goldsmith, director for children and families at Wigan Council, said: “These results are fantastic and could not be achieved without our strong partnership working and our preventative and early intervention approach.
“Through helping young people to understand the consequences of their actions on others we’re preventing them from entering the criminal justice system in the first place or from reoffending.”