Restorative Justice and Victims > Letters of Explanation/Apology
of Apology are often used as a means to communicate
the thoughts and feelings of young people. You may
ask, why is the Young Person writing to apologise?
It could be to put the offence into context to show
what has been learnt since or, how feelings and
attitudes have changed.
Sometimes the young person may not feel remorse (and we certainly wouldn’t encourage an apology that wasn’t meaningful). In these circumstances they have the opportunity to explain:
What they were thinking/feeling at the time of the offence?
What they have done on their order?
What they have learnt differently that might mean next time they are in a similar situation they would act differently?
How they think it might have impacted on the victim?
How it has impacted on their family?
From a victim’s perspective they provide an opportunity for reassurance, to have their questions answered and in some cases to open up a dialogue between the parties.
EXAMPLE LETTER #1
This letter was written by a young man after he was convicted of common assault and sentenced to a Reparation Order. As well as community reparation at Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing he was required to compose this letter not only to apologise for his actions but to explain why he did it. - see the letter here
EXAMPLE LETTER #2
This letter was composed by a young person who the Youth Court sentenced to a 9-month Referral Order for assault with intent to rob. The letter formed part of the Referral Order contract. - see the letter here
EXAMPLE LETTER #3
The Youth Court sentenced this particular young person to a 4-month Referral Order for four offences of shop theft from different retailers. The young person took part in a productive direct mediation session with one of the victims and subsequently put together the attached letter of apology to one of the others. The young person in question also carried out several sessions of indirect/community reparation at the Oxfam charity shop.