Conciliation services to expand nationwide
The use of conciliation services as a means of dealing with certain criminal proceedings will be taken up nationwide during 2006. The service, which is free, has been used widely in some parts of the country. Now the aim is to give it equal status throughout the country.
The service is used when the two parties in a criminal proceeding, victim and perpetrator, use the offices of an independent mediator to determine the mental and material injury suffered by the victim and the extent of compensation due. The practice has been particularly useful in dealing with juvenile crime and crimes of vandalism.
It is a voluntary procedure which either side can withdraw from at any time, and it does not mean that the crime dealt with will not be handled by the police, public prosecutor or the courts.
Guidance and monitoring of conciliation services are carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (MSAH). Under new legislation proposed by the government and put to parliament 22 June, provincial state administrations will oversee the organisation of conciliation services.
Conciliation services have been used in Finland for many years but have been available in only about half of the country’s municipalities. Extending the procedure nationwide promote equality in the criminal justice system.
Senior Officer,Legal Affairs Section Riitta Kuusisto, tel +358 9160 743 60