Police and justice partners met yesterday (7 October) for the formal launch of a new service bringing victims of crime face-to-face with the offenders responsible for their ordeal.
Nottinghamshire’s new Restorative Justice Service was unveiled by Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and is part of a package of changes being introduced to place a greater focus on victims of crime to enhance their emotional recovery.
Restorative Justice is a service offered to victims of crime to give them more involvement in the justice process, allow them a greater role in what happens to an offender and providing the opportunity for closure of the case to aid their ability to cope and move on from their experiences.
Victims are offered face-to-face meetings with an offender to enable them to get answers to their questions which helps to promote recovery. It is also designed to help offenders take responsibility for their actions and to face up the consequences by understanding the impact their offending has had on a victim.
During yesterday’s launch, delegates heard real-life stories where restorative justice had helped the recovery journey including the case of Rachel Price, whose partner was killed when a car careered across the road and collided with him. The offender was later convicted of death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to a 45-month jail sentence and five-year driving ban.
The case was referred for Restorative Justice at the request of the victim who wanted to meet the offender. A meeting was arranged at HMP Ranby during which the offender admitted to looking away from the road to see a text light up on his phone which caused the car to veer onto the opposite side of the road into her partner.
The offender was remorseful for his actions and wanted to let the victim know what had happened. As a result of the meeting, the victim felt much better and received the answers she needed which has gone a long way to helping her find closure and move on.
Attendees also heard from Gary Wright, who is unable to walk following a stroke. He had fallen asleep on his sofa with the door unlocked, but the offender’s entrance woke him up. The offender ran off with a bag of Gary’s possessions, but was arrested later that night. Gary felt that RJ would help both him and the offender move forward with their lives, which resulted in a highly positive meeting following which it became clear that the offender was both remorseful and wished to turn his life around. Gary said that he was willing to keep in touch with the offender on his release from prison.
Commenting on the launch, Commissioner Tipping said: “The emotional stories presented during the launch brought home just how valuable restorative justice can be in the recovery journey of the victim and also the rehabilitation of an offender.
“I’m heavily in favour of this holistic approach which fits in with my overall strategy to put victims first in the justice process and focus on recovery and prevention as a means of changing behaviour in the long-term. RJ has an excellent record for both victim and perpetrator and I’m delighted to be offering the service in Nottinghamshire as a matter of routine.
“I’m convinced that over time we will start to see wider positive outcomes in community safety through embracing this approach to crime.”
Earlier this year, Commissioner Tipping awarded the contract for delivering Restorative Justice Services in Nottinghamshire to justice experts Remedi, which is now the largest single provider of RJ services in England. The organisation has already received 90 referrals to the scheme to date – seven of which have resulted in face-to-face conferences between victims and offenders.
Steve Jones, Director of Remedi, said: “Remedi is delighted to be working in partnership with Paddy Tipping and his team at the Nottinghamshire OPCC. There is very clear passion and commitment to ensuring the best possible services are made available to support victims across the county and we are very proud to be a part of this.”
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) estimates that RJ saves £8 for every £1 spent in terms of reoffending reductions.
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Posted on Monday 12th October 2015