After leaving school the teenage victim (Marie) was attacked by three males, also teenagers, as she walking to a car park.
When they got to her one of them grabbed her from behind and the other two grabbed her from the front, on tried to put his hand up her skirt and one put his hand on her breast. They then fled the scene and the victim explained to her mother what had happened. This was reported to the Police and led to a Neighbourhood Justice Panel (NJP).
The offender (Mark) showed remorse when I met with him. He said that ‘I had not thought about how this could have made some feel bad’ and that ‘I realise it was wrong’. He said that ‘At the time, to me, it was a bit of fun’.
Mark was excluded from school after the Police were involved.
I explained the process to Mark, and told him that the victim could potentially attend the NJP. He was okay with her doing so. I met the offender several times before NJP and did some victim awareness work in preparation.
When I met Marie, she told me it was the first time anyone had told her what was happening with the offender and was not happy about the outcome. We discussed the NJP process, and how she could have some input into it.
The Victim did not know what she wanted to do. She said that ‘I have been given no support’. We discussed a potential referral to a specialist victims of sexual violence support service and I later made that referral.
Marie contacted me later that week to tell me that she would like to attend the panel and speak to the offender. We spoke about what would happen in the panel. Marie was worried about the whole thing, but decided she wanted to take part. I worked with Marie and her mother (who supported Marie) to prepare them for the NJP meeting.
Marie and mum arrived on time. I met them and we went over the ground rule and practicalities and then joined the NJP. Marie had written a letter with me the week before and wanted to read this out to the offender. After she had done this it was Mark’s opportunity to respond. He said ‘I didn’t want to make you feel bad and I’m sorry for what I did and how he had made you feel’.
He said that he couldn’t reply to the questions she had asked, but he would write a letter if that helped. It was agreed that Mark would attempt to write that letter in a later session. Marie agreed to this.
I later met with Mark and he wrote the letter as agreed. He addressed all of the points Marie made. I took the letter to Marie and she was happy with it. She said ‘I feel a lot better since the meeting’.