An enhanced restorative justice service in Nottinghamshire will be ‘life changing’ for those impacted by crime.
That is the view of Gary, who was a victim of burglary before being helped get closure by meeting those responsible for breaking into his house while he was away on holiday.
He was among almost 100 people in attendance earlier this week at the launch of Restorative Nottinghamshire, which now runs as its own service after previously sitting within the Nottinghamshire Victim Care package.
Gary, who is based in South Yorkshire, has no doubt that the service, which is aiming to conduct up to 60 face-to-face consultations per year to help those impacted by crime, will have the desired effect.
He said: “As a victim, I can say first hand that restorative justice has changed my life.
“We slept downstairs for months after the burglary, and even going shopping would put us on edge.
“Once I’d been through the process, I was still able to laugh and smile which was not the feeling I had when I first had the phone call to say I’d been broken into.”
The revamped service will also see the number of specialist workers within the team doubled, with every step of the restorative justice process guided by a trained practitioner and progressing at a pace the victim is comfortable with.
Restorative justice allows victims the chance to obtain much-needed answers following a crime to help set their mind at ease or at least understand the motivation of the perpetrator.
It does this by allowing victims to communicate with the perpetrator, and receive an explanation, an apology or other forms of reparation.
The process also enables perpetrators to understand the real-life impact their crime has had and can change their behaviour as a result.
Restorative justice is not offered instead of a punishment for a crime – it is an added service on top of the criminal justice outcome.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire has teamed up with Nottinghamshire City and County Probation Service to co-commission a new contract to deliver an enhanced offer until March 2027 – under the banner of Restorative Nottinghamshire.
The new service, which will be run by national restorative justice specialists Remedi, was launched at an event held at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham during restorative justice week.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, who co-hosted the event, said: “Many victims of crime are left with lots of unanswered questions and without the answers, the fear, anxiety and hurt that victims feel can remain long after the incident happened.
“Being able to seek clarity and piece of mind by speaking to the perpetrator can make a massive difference to the lives of victims and enable them to move forward without carrying the weight of what has happened to them.
“Victims of crime deserve the best possible support service and I believe the new and enhanced Restorative Nottinghamshire service gives an extra level of support for those who have been impacted by crime.”
Around 20,000 people were referred into victim services funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in the last year.
Of those who received enhanced support from these services, 90% said they were better able to cope with everyday life or recover from harm after receiving this support – an increase of 8% on the previous year.
Restorative Justice has been shown to be highly effective in helping victims feel empowered as it gives them a voice and enables them to have direct or indirect contact with the offender. Government research demonstrates that 85% of victims participating in Restorative Justice are satisfied with the process. It has also demonstrated a reduction in the re-offending rate of offenders who have taken part, which helps to save public money.
Nicola Bancroft, Assistant Director at Remedi, said: “Remedi are aiming to increase both accessibility and engagement in restorative justice across the City and County for both Police Out of Court Disposals and Post Sentence court outcomes.
“We are working with key partners to develop pathways and systems, which enable more people to be aware of Restorative Justice and how it may help them to move forward after a crime.
We have increased our restorative justice staff team with dedicated police and probation practitioners who will be raising awareness of the subject amongst partners and offering proactive contact to individuals harmed by crime and those responsible.”
Martin Davies, East Midlands Regional Probation Director, said: “Restorative Justice puts victims front and centre and empowers them to talk openly about the impact the crime has had on their lives.
“Victims will be supported and guided through the process, to allow them to get the answers they deserve, while forcing offenders to take responsibility for their actions.”
You can get help from Restorative Nottinghamshire by calling 0800 612 5717, texting NOTTSRS to 82228, emailing email@example.com, or by visiting www.restorativenotts.org.uk.
Posted on Friday 24th November 2023