for victims, young offenders
Information for victims, young people who
have committed offences, their families and the
• A youth justice conference is a meeting of
the people affected by a crime committed
by a young person.
• Youth justice conferencing provides a safe,
supportive environment to talk about what
happened and to work out what the young
person should do to put things right.
• Youth justice conferencing holds young
people accountable for their actions.
• Youth justice conferencing assists young
people to accept responsibility.
• Youth justice conferencing provides an
opportunity for victims to be involved in
working out what should happen.
What is a youth justice conference?
A youth justice conference is a meeting of the
people affected by a crime committed by a
young person. When a young person admits to
an offence the police may make a conference
referral instead of sending the matter to court.
In some cases, a court will request that a youth
justice conference takes place.
Why is a conference held?
The purpose of the conference is to:
• hold the young person accountable for
• ﬁnd ways to help repair the damage or harm
that has been caused to the victim of the
• involve the victim, the young person’s family
and the young person themselves in making
decisions about what should happen to
repair the harm that has been caused.
What happens before a conference?
Before a conference is held, an experienced
convenor will contact you and arrange a time
to meet. At this meeting, they will explain the
conference process to you, help you prepare
for the conference and discuss any concerns
or issues you may have. They will also advise
you that you have the right to talk with a legal
representative, or have a legal representative
present at the conference if you wish.
What happens at a conference?
At the conference, the convenor will help
everyone talk through what happened, the
effects on everyone involved, how they feel
about it and how the young person might
What can a conference do for you?
If you are a victim, it gives you a chance to:
• tell the young person how you feel about
• explain how you have been affected by the
• have your say about how the young
person might make amends for some of
the harm caused
• help discourage the young person from
You don’t have to attend the conference if
you don’t want to. Instead, you may send
someone else to represent you and/or you
may send a letter or taped message to
express your thoughts and feelings.
If you are a young person who has
committed a crime, a youth justice
conference gives you a chance to:
• own up to what you have done
• understand how your actions have affected
• help put things right.
If you are family, or a support person for a
young person, it gives you a chance to:
• be involved in decisions about what
• support the young person to help prevent
How long does a youth justice
The length of the conference depends on the
situation, though generally, a conference is
completed within two hours.
Who attends a conference?
Generally the following people will attend a
youth justice conference:
• an experienced conference convenor
• a police ofﬁcer
• the young person who committed the
• the young person’s family or other supporter
for the young person
• the victim (if they wish to attend)
• the victim’s supporter (if the victim wishes)
• sometimes a person from the Department
• sometimes a legal representative for either
the victim or the young person responsible
for the offence
• sometimes a respected member of the
community or member of the Community
If the young person does not live with their
family, they may ask for another supporter to
be present. This may be a guardian or other
adult who is close to them.
What is the outcome of a
Generally, the outcome of a conference will be
a written agreement, signed by the victim, the
young person, the police and the convenor.
What might an agreement include?
The young person might agree to:
• make a formal apology
• act in away which will help the victim feel
more safe and secure
• replace or pay for the damage or loss of
• accept other support which will help prevent
• perform voluntary work or services for the
victim or for a community organisation of
the victim’s choice.
The agreement includes details of who will
make sure the young person completes the
agreement and how that will happen.
What if an agreement is not reached
or if the agreement is not fulﬁlled?
If an agreement is not reached in the
conference, if the young person does not
attend, or if a young person does not fulﬁl their
obligations under the agreement, the police or
court ofﬁcer will decide what should happen.
Another conference may be held or the matter
may be sent to court.
The Department of Communities collects personal information
from Youth Justice Conference participants for the purpose of
assisting the conferencing process. This is authorised by the
Juvenile Justice Act 1992, (The Act), section 289(a).
Conferences are held in private and participants are not allowed
to discuss the conference proceedings with anyone outside
of the conference. However some or all information about the
conference or the conference agreement can be disclosed to a
third party if everyone at the conference agrees.
A third party would include the non-attending victim/s of the
offence to which the conference relates and/or an agency
providing a voluntary work placement or program.
The Department of Communities provides information related
to the success of the conference, and a copy of the agreement,
to the referring court or police ofﬁcer. The Queensland Police
Service may provide this information to the Ofﬁce of the Director
of the Public Prosecutions if a court in the future is considering
Information on this form may also be used by the Department of
Communities for program evaluation and research purposes and
case management and compliance monitoring in accordance
with sections 302(4) and 296(2) of the Juvenile Justice Act 1992.
For the purposes of research, this information may also be given
to external researchers, which may include individuals and
universities in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act 1992,
Reports on evaluation or research ﬁndings will not include
personal information that could identify you.
Please contact your Regional Youth Justice
Youth Justice Conferencing
Department of Communities
GPO Box 806, Brisbane, QLD, 4001
Telephone: FREECALL 1300 555 954
03-0101 Oct 04
Facsimile: 3225 8525