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Restorative Justice through a Children's Rights Lens

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image of The International Journal of Children's Rights

Restorative justice is an alternative to the formal criminal justice system which focuses on repairing the harm caused to the victim of the offence, effecting reconciliation between victim and offender, and the re-integration of the offender. Its use is widespread in national youth justice systems. This article will analyse the use of restorative justice in connection with offending by children. It will be argued that despite evidence of endorsement by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the fundamental concepts of restorative justice are at odds with a children's rights model of youth justice as required by international standards. Not only do similar concerns about due process rights exist for children as for the adult system, it is difficult to reconcile the best interests of the child standard with the victim focused approach of restorative justice, and there are doubts as to whether children have sufficient maturity for remorse and reintegration.

Affiliations: 1: School of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


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