The youth justice system
If you've been the victim of a crime committed by a child or a young person, the matter will be dealt with through the youth justice process.
You have the right to go to a family group conference and say how offending has affected you and your family and what you'd like to see happen.
If the child or young person denies the offence, there will usually be a defended hearing in a Youth Court or - for very serious offending - in the High Court. It's very unusual for there to be a defended hearing in the Youth Court.
Where an offence is admitted or a charge is found proved after a defended hearing, you can choose to attend a family group conference arranged by the Child Youth and Family Services.
A family group conference is where you can meet with the young person who has offended against you, and share with them how their offending affected you. It’s also an opportunity to talk about what can be done to help put things right.
You can take people with you for support.
The people at the family group conference work together to draw up a plan to put the child or young person back on track. This might include reparation, so your input is important. You can say if you don’t agree with any part of the plan.
If you would like to know more about how a family group conference works, contact the youth justice co-ordinator at the nearest office of Child, Youth and Family (external link) .
You may attend any Youth Court hearing. A court victim advisor or police youth aid officer can tell you the time and location of the hearings and explain what's likely to happen in court.
For the victim, the most important court hearing is probably the one after the family group conference. That's when the Judge will consider how to carry out the plan, and whether any court orders are needed to make it happen.
You may bring support people with you to court.
The only offences that children under 14 can be charged with are murder and manslaughter. Otherwise, children aged 10 to 13 are called child offenders and may be dealt with by police warning or Child Youth and Family Services intervention.
While they are not held criminally responsible for their offending, they are held accountable and a victim may be able to attend a family group conference for this purpose.
More information about the youth justice system
- See the Youth Court website (external link)
- Contact Child, Youth and Family on 0508 326 459 or see the Child, Youth and Family website (external link)