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Last Updated: Thursday November 20 2008 12:00 GMT

Should kids who commit crimes face their victims?

Police on the streets

Police in some parts of the UK are trying out a new way of dealing with kids who break the law.

Instead of being interviewed at a police station and even getting a criminal record, some kids are being brought face-to-face with the victims of their crimes.

The idea is to make them realise how they've hurt people by their actions, and can say they're sorry.

Some people think it's a good idea, and means kids are less likely to break the law in the future.

But others say it's an easy option, and kids should be punished for what they've done the usual way.

Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index.

Your comments

"I think they should indeed because that way they can reflect on their own actions and what they have done to their victims."

Chanin, 15, London, England

"I think they should. They should see what they have done and it might make them not do it again."

Niamh, 10, Blackpool, England

"I think that this idea is fairly good, as it is unfair to give children criminal records at an early age. However, will it actually make any difference???"

H, 7

"Of course not; logic tells me that it's far too dangerous."

Richard, 10, Kent, England

"I think it is a good idea because they have to know who they're hurting and maybe it will knock some sense into them!!!"

Ella, 10, Southampton, England

"I think they should face their victims to face up to what they've done; maybe it will stop them doing it again!!!"

Charlotte, 14, Birmingham, England

"I think it's very important to meet and talk to the person you've harmed and it gives them a chance to be forgiven."

Nahidul, 11, London, England

"I think they should so they can hear and see the pain and hurt of the victim or family of the victim. But people shouldn't commit a crime anyway. They will regret it someday…"

Emily, 10, Hong Kong, China

"I think that children these days get away with everything so we should just leave them to do what they do at the moment."

Bethany, 12, London, England

"I think that facing the victim is a good thing, but very hard & upsetting for both!"

Nina, 13, London, England

"I think children these days get away with anything but everything. I don't think we should get away with crime, stealing, fighting, smoking and other stuff like that. I know I am only a teenager but I still think it is wrong."

Cheryl, 13, Leeds, England

"No, because if you commit a crime at a young age then you may not understand."

Lee, 13, Bradford, England

"I think kids who commit crimes should face their own victims."

Naseema, 13, Halifax, England

"Only if the victim agrees - after all their choice matters more! Also this should not be the punishment - they should spend a day at the police station."

Emma, 12, Gateshead, England

"Frankly, I believe this kind of 'punishment' is nothing but a waste of time. This 'punishment' might work, but arrogant kids won't really care, will they? Once they have finished the punishment, they'll just start again."

Robert, 12, Leeds, England

"I think it depends on how bad the crime is because giving a child a criminal record is quite extreme in my opinion, especially if they're only young. Having a criminal record can affect so many things when they grow up, like not being able to get into certain countries and not being able to get certain jobs, for something they did when they were a simple-minded kid. I personally think that's quite a harsh punishment for children. Making them face their victims is a much more suitable punishment."

Felicity, 11, Leeds, England

"I think it's a great way of dealing with it and giving kids the chance to explain, but if they aren't sorry for what they have done then they should face a criminal record."

Gabrielle, 12, London, England

"I think they should maybe face them and apologise and be nice and leave it at that because they AREN'T bad kids - they're just poor, confused kids who just weren't thinking right at the very moment that the incident happened. Maybe they are being bullied or have problems at home."

Elena, 11, Northern Ireland

"I think it is a good idea, although if I was the victim I would not like to see the criminal. But I do think it is a good time for the criminal to tell the victim they are sorry for the damage they caused them!"

Shannon, 10, Liverpool, England

"I think that should be the case for children under the age of 12, but at 12 or over they should be punished by a criminal record, as then you should start being more responsible!"

Georgina, 12, Cornwall, England

"I think they should also give them a criminal record, as well as having meetings with the person that they have hurt or upset, because they could be doing criminal damage all the time and not being told off, just being sat in a room saying sorry. You shouldn't say sorry unless you mean it."

Leanne, 10, Coventry, England

"They should have to do this anyway, as well as being interviewed at the police station. I don't think this soft approach will work on the majority of young offenders today."

Reece, 12, Bristol, England

"I think that this is letting kids get away with things really."

Andrew, 13, North Wales

"No, I don't think it will work because it is so easy to sit in a room and nod your head, and after a quick 'sorry' you're back on the streets again!"

Emma, 12, East Sussex, England

"Obviously it's a better solution than getting a criminal record. This coupled with some community service will be much, much more effective."

Kate, 12, London, England

"I think this will be a good idea for a responsible, sensible person, but for people like 13-year-olds who steal expensive Porsches, they just won't listen."

Jonathan, 9, Preston, England

"Yes, I think they should because they can see what damage they have done and hopefully they will not do it again. It will teach them a lesson."

Molly, 10, England

"It's a good idea for young children because they can learn not to hurt anybody."

Olivia, 9, Dudley, England

"I think it's a good idea for not-so-serious crimes and children under 16."

Karmen-Alesha, 11, Southampton, England

"It depends how many times they have done the crime! If they have done it for the first time this new system might work, but if they are older and have done crimes before then it still could work but it's a weak chance. The reason I think so is that they could just ignore it completely and carry on because they think it's fun or maybe it's peer pressure. But the point is, when you've done something wrong you need to face up to the consequences, however big they are!"

Jasmine, 12, Hertfordshire, England

"I think it is a good way for people to see they are not bad children, they are just confused."

Liam, 10, Fife, Scotland

"I think we should have this punishment because it makes kids feel guilty about what damage they've done."

Saffron, 10, Leeds, England

"I think its a good idea, but I'm not sure if the victims would actually like seeing the criminal? Though it would give the criminal a chance to say sorry."

Hayley, 13, Gloucestershire, England

"I think it's a good idea, as it makes the child who has committed the crime realise that their actions have an impact on other people."

Sandy, 13, London, England

"I don't think it's a good idea because I would personally feel scared, embarrassed and guilty about the crime!"

Rosanna, 8, Essex, England

"I think that it isn't a good idea because if it's a major offence it would help the child but it could traumatise the victim."

Cally, 13, Norfolk, England

"I think children under 15, should just be given a letter about what they have done addressed to the parents and they should deal with it from there!!!"

Eleonor, 10, Bury, England

"I think it is a brilliant idea and i think it would work, but if some kids were not sorry for what they have done it should go on their criminal record."

Felicity, 10, East Sussex, England

"I think this is a fantastic new way of dealing with the situation but it may upset younger and sensitive kids."

Stella, 9, Liverpool, England

"I think kids who break the law should apologise to the people they hurt AND pay for any damage they cause!"

Alice, 14, Worcester, England

"I don't think this would work because there are some kids who would keep committing crimes."

Lucy, 14, London, England

"I do think it's a good idea to make kids face their victims because if you gave them a criminal record they might not get into certain universities or jobs when they are older. So I think give them a chance because they might change!"

Fatma, Belfast, Northern Ireland

"I think they should still have a criminal record but also they should have to apologise to everyone involved. They shouldn't just be left off with it because people can get really upset about it."

Calum, 12, Scotland

"Kids that commit crimes should take the blame AND the punishment. Parents shouldn't have to take the blame."

Olivia, 14, Northamptonshire, England

"I don't think children should get a criminal record for something they are sorry for and won't do again!!"

Nayyar, 13, London, England

"I would hate to sit there in front of the person that I have affected, so I think this is a good and effective punishment. Also, it will stop kids getting a permanent record and reducing their chances of getting into university or a job."

Luke, 14, England

"I think that kids should get sent home and their mum or dad should get fined for the things that they have done."

Omar, 11. Liverpool, England

"I think kids should be punished, they should be responsible for what they have done. If kids aren't punished they'll do it all over again thinking that they won't be punished."

Vivienne, 12, Manchester, England

"For some crimes I think this could be a successful deterrent to prevent repeated crimes; however, i also think many criminals would quickly become desensitized to this form of punishment."

Lola, 14, London, England

"I think that it is a bad idea because they might say it and not mean it."

Chloe, 10, Haddingtonshire, Scotland

"Yes they should to see how sad they are."

Teigan, 7, Cleveland, England

"I think it's a good idea because wrong-doers can meet the victims and apologise in person. Also it's a more child friendly idea."

Tabitha, 12, Tyne and Wear, England

"For some of the cheeky and younger ones, it's not a good idea."

Ad, 11, Finland

"Yes I think it's a good idea coming in for a meeting in a police station because you learn from your mistakes and you will never do it again. Also you won't get a criminal record so it won't ruin your life. So I agree."

Anna, 10, Sheffield, England

"I think that idea is rubbish because it would be really stressful to do that and what if the kid punches the other person? I think they should chat on the phone or something but not be face-to-face."

Sophia, 11, Cambridge, England

"I think that this is a good idea as then it will make the people feel bad about what they have done and hopefully they won't do it again."

Jamie, 14, England

"It's a good idea but I don't think it would work on all children."

Zoe, 11, Cheshire, England

"People should not be punished like this."

Nadia, 10, Bradford, England

"I think kids under the age of 16 should face criminal justice."

Abdul, 14, Burnley, England

"I think that all children should face up to what they have done! It's the only way that they will learn what they have done is wrong and they won't do it again. They should be put in a cell for the night to see what adults have to go through. It's the only way it could be fair for them, and then maybe they will grow up!"

Jessica, 12, Cambridgeshire, England

"Yes, this is a good idea because they might never get a job if they have a bad criminal record. So, if you do this it might give them a better chance in life."

Hunter, 12, America

"Yes, I agree with that but I don't think it would work, considering the crime rates over the country."

Bethany, 13, Argyll, Scotland

"I think kids should choose whether to face their victims or have other punishments."

Cat, 11, Stroud, England

"Yeah, I think they should! Meeting the people they have hurt or injured may be a way for them to face facts and see that it was wrong what they did!"

Johanne, 13, Oslo, Norway

"I think it's a good way for children to come face to face with the victims. It will help them to live a better life."

Jade, 10, Glasgow, Scotland