Victim faces up to attackers

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A BRAVE Wigan teen faced up to a vicious gang who subjected her to a savage attack to understand why they had committed the crime.

Earlier this year, Amy Clarke from Aspull, was targeted by a group of youths while walking with her pal on grounds near to Haigh Hall.

The 14-year-old suffered cuts and bruises and feared fractures to her limbs and eye-sockets.

But Amy and mum Sam accepted the chance to meet the offenders as part of a restorative justice scheme.

Amy, who struggled to sleep following the attack, said: “I was walking along with my friend, they accused us of giving them dirty looks.

“I told them we hadn’t but before I knew it the group had grabbed my friend by the hair and pulled her to the floor before turning on me.”

The case was later referred by police to the council’s restorative solutions team after the gang received cautions.

Sam, 42, said: “I wanted to meet them, not to have a go, but to make them see the impact their actions had on the whole family and make them see that they could have a better future than this.

“We were both happy to meet the group. I wanted to see if they could look me in the eye knowing what they had done to my daughter.

“I certainly didn’t wish them any harm, I just wanted them to know what they put us through and to deter them from attacking somebody else’s child in the future.

“As a parent, the process allowed me to show my daughter how to behave properly and to understand that violence isn’t the answer.”

After the attack Mrs Clarke had described the gangs’ actions as being “like a pack of wolves” as the family and police officers appealed for witnesses to come forward.

The pair are speaking out in support of Restorative Justice week – November 17 to 24 – which the government hopes will encourage more councils to implement an RJ scheme.

Sam added: “I wasn’t expecting it to be so powerful – seeing how remorseful the young people and their parents were helped us to find closure and gave us the opportunity to get it off our chests.

“I think it was good for them too as they were able to see what they had put us through.

“We’ll never forget it, but because it’s been dealt with properly, I don’t think it will affect Amy negatively in her future. I’m glad we agreed to meet them, it definitely helped us to heal.”

Government research suggests that RJ schemes can help improve victim satisfaction in the justice system and reduce people re-offending.

Coun Kevin Anderson, said: “I’d like to thank the RJ team for helping Amy and her mum.

“It’s reassuring to know that the council’s staff are on hand to help residents who become victims of crime.”