Early intervention

The use of restorative practice in early intervention aims to keep young people out of the criminal justice system. This can include the use of restorative practice in schools, care homes and the community, as well as in crime prevention activity.

By supporting challenging young people to deal with conflict in a positive and constructive way, restorative approaches can help to ensure that they are able to avoid contact with the criminal justice system. This both improves their life chances and reduces demands on the police.

The use of restorative practice with young people is increasingly prevalent in care homes, where its benefits can be particularly clear.

Young people in residential care are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, with incidents that take place in this setting more likely to be reported to the police. A restorative approach can ensure that incidents are dealt with in a way that resolves the situation positively without recourse to the police.

In any setting involving children and young people, restorative approaches teach an understanding of others' feelings and the ability to connect and communicate successfully. They enable young people to think for themselves about how to respond to challenging situations. And they enable young people to build trust and develop more mature responses to a difficult situation. Children are able to take these skills into adult life.

Further reading about restorative justice in early intervention:

The introduction of restorative justice approaches in young people’s residential units: A critical evaluation