Victims and offenders are becoming increasingly aware of restorative justice. The term restorative justice encompasses a range of actions or interventions that enable some communication between the victim and the offender.
The process of restorative justice is about empowerment. It empowers the victim by giving them a voice in the process. It can also empower the offender to make changes in their offending behaviour once they have to face the reality of the impact on their crime on their victim. Restorative justice is not only for individuals but for families, groups and whole communities.
In this section you will be able to find out what is meant by restorative justice and how to find out more in order to make an informed choice about whether it would help you cope and recover from the impact of crime.
Find out more about this section by clicking the headings below
What is restorative justice
Restorative Justice is a system of criminal justice which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation and the larger community.
Meeting an offender who has harmed you can be a huge step in moving forward and recovering from the impact of crime.
Restorative justice victims of crime the chance to meet or communicate with those who have committed a crime against you, to explain the real impact of the crime, and empowering the victims and the community that they have affected by giving a voice.
It also holds offenders to account for what they have done and helps them to take responsibility and make amends. The experience can be incredibly challenging as it confronts them with the personal impact of their crime.
Government research demonstrates that restorative justice provides an 85% victim satisfaction rate, and a 14% reduction in the frequency of reoffending.
Who is it for
Restorative justice can be for anyone who feels it is right for them. All adult victims are entitled to information about restorative justice. Under the victims code of practice under 18s can also request to take part and the use of restorative justice has been a core part of the work of youth offending teams over the last decade.
You might hear the terms 'victim led' or 'offender led' restorative justice. These terms mean that one party has requested to access some restorative approach but for any restorative justice to take place both parties have to be willing and the process for victims is completely voluntary. This means that you should not feel pressurised in any way to take part.
For some types of crimes, restorative justice is used more than others. For example, one of the most common questions a victim can have is 'Why me?'. The process of restorative justice can help get answers to unresolved questions and an apology for the harm that has been caused. Restorative justice is regarded by some as not being appropriate in crimes of abuse for example in domestic violence cases. This is because some specialists feel that it opens the victim up to the potential of further psychological abuse. Despite this concern, it is for the victim to decide what is best for them.
How does it work
For some victims, the opportunity to meet the person who has offended against them can be a significant, positive step to repairing the harm that they have experienced.
A trained facilitator will be involved in all the preparation, planning and after care of your process. Some victims might wish to work towards a face to face meeting with the offender but for others, this might not feel comfortable and they will be offered other forms of communication for example letters or video. Whatever you choose, you will never be left alone at any stage with the person who has committed a crime against you.
It is important to remember that for any communication to take place both the victim and offender have to want to take part. Any meeting provides a chance within a safe, controlled environment to talk and this can be particularly helpful if you are known to the offender .It is vital that the offender has admitted to the crime prior to any communication.
Things to consider
4 out of 5 victims that have engaged with restorative justice said that is has significantly helped them to move on and would recommend it to other victims. At the beginning, they were probably understandably anxious about what it would involve. As the victim, you are in control of what happens and to what extent. You can withdraw from any arrangements at any time.
Restorative justice is about having a voice as a victim. This is often the motivation for people to take part as they feel it empowers them. It hopefully means you will get answers to some unresolved questions and help you heal from the hurt that has been caused.
You will always be supported by your facilitator. They are trained and are members of the local forums for restorative justice across the peninsula. You will be thoroughly prepared on what to expect both before and after any meeting and the facilitator will lead any meeting between you and the offender.
As a victim, you are entitled to find out more and access restorative justice when you feel ready. This might be sometime after the crime but you can refer at any time.
For some victims, meeting the actual person that did them harm is too much to face. You facilitator will discuss other options with you, including the use of surrogate offenders. These will be people that did not commit the crime against you but come from an offending background. This can also be used should the offender choose not to take part.
- Vision: The Safer Cornwall Restorative Justice Forum, and the wider arena of Restorative Cornwall, will seek to:
- establish a safe and sustainable network of RJ service providers that enables victims and offenders to participate in an RJ process;
- support the development of an RJ community, able to share learning and responsibility for Restorative Justice development in Cornwall;
- seek to promote and develop services that demonstrate the value of healing, reconciliation, recompense, repair and restoration, as a healthy alternative and complement to traditional adversarial processes.
- Forum contact: RJ@cornwall.gov.uk
- Contact details for more information: 01872 323888
Restorative Cornwall Referral Form
Added: 09 June 2015
Devon Youth Offending Service and RJ
What is Devon Youth Offending Service?
Devon Youth Offending Service has 3 area teams covering all of Devon apart from the unitary authorities of Torbay and Plymouth. We deal with crimes committed by young people aged 10-17 years of age.
We believe that Restorative Justice (RJ) is such a positive way of resolving an injustice that it now underpins all of the work we do as well as being a formal part of some of our most frequently used court orders such as Referral Orders. We have been delivering restorative interventions since 2002 and our service has provided RJ training for many other public and private organisations. We are in the process of gaining the Restorative Services Quality Mark (RSQM) awarded by the Restorative Justice Council.
We aim to contact every victim where a young person has been identified as an offender and dealt with by the Police and/or possibly Court.
What can I expect as a victim of crime?
1. The Police pass on your details to us and once the outcome of the investigation is clear we write to you offering the choice to be contacted or not, as you prefer.
2. Unless you opt out we will then call you to share basic information and arrange a meeting.
3. We will normally visit you to explain the current legal status of your case and what options you have to participate in any restorative processes.
4. We will then arrange further meetings as required and agreed with you.
5. Our contact with you can stop at any time that you wish and will normally stop once everyone agrees the restorative work has been completed.
6. We only retain your personal details long enough to complete the work agreed. We will only retain them longer than this with your permission and for specific reasons.
7. If you have a complaint about our service we would like to talk it through with you to see if we can resolve any issues. You can also complain formally by phone on 0808 1683750 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I find out more?
We train all of our staff members as RJ facilitators, but each of our teams has a specific victim care specialist. Please feel free to call them on the details below or find our full address by searching for us on the organisation directory:
North Devon, Torridge, West Devon Phone: 01271 388150
Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon: Phone: 01392 384978
South Devon, Teignbridge: Phone 01392 386210
RJ referrals in Devon
Victims of reported crime in Devon who have expressed an interest in finding out more about restorative justice (RJ) will, with consent, have their details sent to the RJ co- ordinator in Plymouth. They will be providing a service for Devon and will make contact with any interested individuals to discuss RJ further.
The police, probation and any other agency can refer a person to the service with their consent. community groups and individuals may also refer themselves.
For more information about Restorative Justice options in Plymouth please contact Mabel on 01752 304136 or 07476029047 or email RJ@plymouth.gov.uk or use the referral form under the Community Solutions section
Community Solutions Plymouth
At Community Solutions we understand that being a victim of crime can have a lasting effect on you, your family and your community.
Community Solutions, believe that all people harmed by Crime or conflict have the right to be offered a safe way to communicate with the person or persons who have caused the harm.
Who we are…
Community Solutions is a project set up to ensure that Restorative justice is available to the People of Plymouth. A number of partnership agencies are involved and we ensure the quality of all adult restorative justice work in the City to make sure people receive a good quality service.
What we do
Community Solutions will ensure that those wishing to participate in a Restorative process are provided with the opportunity to communicate in some way with the person who has caused them harm, in an attempt to help repair the harm caused and to find a way to move forward.
Restorative Justice is a voluntary process that brings together those affected by harm with those responsible for causing the harm, enabling everyone to play a part in finding a positive way forward.
We know that this can be daunting for victims to consider and this is also true for those who caused harm, which is why we ensure that experienced independent RJ Facilitators are available to make sure that everyone feels safe and supported within the process. The facilitator will structure the meetings to ensure it is safe and will keep the content of the conversations with you confidential. *
There are several steps in the process, which is led by the needs of the victims, whilst taking account of the needs of those responsible for causing the harm. It can take various forms; for example, by starting with indirect contact, with the support of the Facilitator, with the aim of working towards a structured face-to-face meeting.
Who can refer?
The Police, probation and any other agency can refer a person to the service with their consent. Community groups and individuals may also refer themselves.
For more information about Restorative Justice options in Plymouth please contact Jane on 01752 304136 or 07476029047 or email RJ@plymouth.gov.uk
*On occasions the Facilitator may be required to pass on information to a third party in the event they are concerned about the safety or welfare of you or someone else, or where they believe that a child or young person has been harmed or is likely to come to harm if no action is taken.
Referral form for Community Solutions
Added: 09 June 2015
Make Amends Torbay
What is Make Amends - Torbay?
Make Amends is a restorative justice project which has been set up to increase restorative work across Torbay. The project works with partners to deliver restorative approaches which repair the harm caused by crime, conflict, anti-social behaviour and the harmful actions of others.
Working towards a Restorative Torbay.
Make Amends is a partnership project for Torbay that provides a choice of restorative opportunities that seek to heal the harm caused by crime, conflict, anti-social behavior and the harmful actions of others.
Who do we work with?
Make Amends works with those who have been harmed, those responsible for causing harm and the community. We accept restorative justice referrals from our statutory partners, (Torbay Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, National Probation Service, Community Rehabilitation Companies, Prison Service) from voluntary and community groups and also self referrals.
Independence, Confidentiality, safety and Impartiality
At Make Amends we offer an independent, impartial, confidential and safe service. This means that we will not share your information with other organisations unless there is an immediate risk to you or another person, or safeguarding issues are identified. Although we work in partnership with statutory agencies we are independent from them, which means that we will only share information with them with your consent.
Where can I get more information?
There is a lot more information available about our project . Click here to find out more
Alternatively you can contact the project direct on 07826 903449
Make Amends Referral form ( RJ Torbay)
Added: 11 June 2015
Access to restorative justice
Victims of crime are entitled to be offered restorative justice (RJ) . If you are a victim of reported crime , you will be given a victim of crime leaflet that will provide some information about RJ. The victim care unit staff will ask you if you are interested in having a voice in the process through accessing a restorative approach. It is important to remember that any engagement in RJ is voluntary for both the victim and offender.
If you are interested in finding out more, and only with consent , your details will be passed to the trained RJ coordinator for your area. They will make contact to explain the process in more detail. At no point do you have to continue if you do not want to and there will never be any pressure to do so. Any preparation that you do will be with trained RJ facilitators that are supervised by the RJ co ordinators. Taking part in RJ should be open to victims at any point in their journey although there may be practical constraints if an offender has not been apprehended. However, the RJ coordinators will be able to explain other options in more details
Victims can self refer to the area co-ordinators. To find out their contact details please look at their pages under this section.
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