From Annie Cossins' article in the British Journal of Criminology: By looking closely at the SAAS conferencing model, this article has shown that the ideal of empowering victims and prioritizing victims ’ needs was not necessarily achieved, since:
- victims had no say about whether a case proceeded to conferencing and, therefore,
- no ‘ choice about how their violation [was] addressed ’ ;
- the model appears to be designed for fi rst time offenders to divert them from court and to ensure that no conviction is recorded, so that victims ’ needs are secondary;
- victims may have no say in the terms of the undertaking agreed to by the defendant;
- even when defendants refused to admit to the offence, conferences still proceeded;
- there was no evidence that conferencing encouraged admissions rather than denial — the vast majority of fi nalized court cases were proved by way of guilty pleas, whilst defendants who made no admissions tended to have different backgrounds compared with those who admitted.