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Friday, 31 January, 2003, 04:00 GMT
Youth crime scheme extended
A pilot scheme designed to prevent youth crime in which victims and offenders come face-to-face, is being extended across England.

BBC News has learned that the initial results of the Restorative Justice project suggests there has been a drop in thefts and violence in the pilot areas.

Involving pupils at two comprehensives in London, Restorative Justice worked by letting the victim confront the offender and tell them about the harm they have caused.

It has been increasingly used by police as part of the cautioning process.

Girl gangs

Last year, the scheme was adopted by two schools in west London to resolve incidents of sexual harassment, bullying, robbery and an outbreak of fighting between girl gangs.

A total of 118 pupils who would have been excluded under previous disciplinary procedures were allowed to stay at school after meeting their victims and agreeing to improve their behaviour.

The Youth Justice Board said this had helped to cut crime - because excluded pupils were far more likely to offend.

Fast-track hearings

Similar projects are now being set up at schools in seven other areas across England - including a junior school in Kent.

In Scotland, tough new fast-track hearings to deal quickly and effectively with young tearaways who persistently break the law are being launched on Friday.

Scottish minister for young people Cathy Jamieson will meet youngsters at Cumnock Academy in Ayrshire who are on programmes based at the school to tackle their offending behaviour.

The new system will be piloted in Dundee, Ayrshire and East Lothian and the Borders for two years.

See also:

14 Jan 03 | England
13 Jan 03 | England
07 Jan 03 | England
18 Dec 02 | England
03 Dec 02 | England
26 Nov 02 | England
12 Dec 02 | England
14 Jan 03 | UK
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