Changing the experience of victims
Oranga Tamariki is responding to the voices of victims of offending, with a reinvigorated focus on supporting engagement and participation.
When people are a victim of a crime committed by a young person, it can have a devastating impact on them; we also know that many young people who need help from Oranga Tamariki may be victims of crime themselves.
Oranga Tamariki is responding to the voices of victims, with a reinvigorated focus on supporting engagement and participation in restorative justice by victims, which will also benefit the young people who have offended. This includes a comprehensive programme of work headed by a recently-appointed Director of Victim Participation and Engagement within the Youth Justice Services team, as well as harnessing cross-agency and cross-sector research and support to improve victim engagement and participation.
This is an opportunity to improve our understanding of the effects of offending by young people on victims and to develop our support for all those affected.
Heading up our programme
We are delighted that Assistant Commissioner Bill Searle has been seconded from the New Zealand Police to the position of Director: Victim Engagement & Participation within the Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Services team.
This is an opportunity to improve our understanding of the effects of offending by young people on victims and to develop our support for all those affected, with strategic, policy and procedural improvements, according to Allan Boreham, DCE Youth Justice Services.
“This new position is a critical one for us as we work hard to deliver a Youth Justice Service that supports young people, whānau, and victims of youth crime to restore mana. Bill has a wealth of strategic and operational experience, and a network of contacts that will strengthen our leadership team and help us improve our operational service delivery,” said Allan.
“We know that improved victim participation and engagement is in the best interests of young people, whanau and victims involved in the youth justice process and I am excited to be able to contribute to improving that experience and supporting those in need to restore their mana,” said Bill.
At the start of this journey
Our programme will involve three phases: research; consultation; and implementation. We are currently in the first phase, at the start of a journey that we know won’t have a fixed endpoint.
We are listening to the voices of victims amplified by Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform, which sets out Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor’s recommendations for how to improve the criminal justice system for victims.
We have also seen recent releases of the Ministry of Justice’s report Highly Victimised People and Turuki! Turuki! published by the Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora – Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group. The next annual New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey is also due out early in 2020.
Harnessing cross-agency and cross-sector support
We are proud of our strong relationship with other organisations across the Justice and Social sectors, and Bill’s secondment demonstrates the commitment of the Police as one of our key partners, to helping achieve our Youth Justice mission.
We also have a range of formal and informal relationships with other Government agencies and sector bodies, which are essential to helping us understand and measure the effects of offending by young people. That includes being an active member of Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata since its inception.
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