Restorative justice (RJ) brings those harmed by crime or conflict, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
Government research shows that restorative justice helps victims to get answers to their questions, aids recovery and helps them to move on with their lives. For offenders, restorative justice can be very challenging. It has been proven that offenders are less likely to re-offend following a properly facilitated restorative justice process.
Restorative justice is a specialist service which must be delivered by qualified and experienced workers. Nottinghamshire Victim CARE supports victims who wish to start a restorative process.
A survey into community remedies for dealing with low-level crime and anti-social behaviour was launched in June 2014 by then Deputy Commissioner Chris Cutland.
The consultation was designed to give the public a say in Commissioner Paddy Tipping’s development of his Community Remedy Document. This document is legally required for setting out how criminal justice partners and the police deliver court-free sanctions.
- a face-to-face or written apology to the victim
- a restorative justice conference where a police officer or independent mediator brings victim and offender together to resolve the issues
- self-funded rehabilitation where the offender pays to get help or treatment
- and compensation where an offender pays for the damage they have caused or to replace property stolen.
The Deputy Commissioner said: “The use of community remedies is very much complementary to our approach to treat victims and offenders as people, rather than numbers, with problems which need to be overcome. However, we need to make sure that both victims and the public at large agree that this style of punishment is indeed meaningful and will play a supportive role in the rehabilitation of offenders.”
Community remedies can only be used in special circumstances, such as first offence low-level crime, when the offender show remorse, and most importantly, when a victim agrees that this is the right approach to justice.
Section 101 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 came in force on 20th October 2014, and is designed to place the victim at the heart of decision making and requires the Commissioner and Nottinghamshire Police to consult with community members and Partners relating to the use of Community Remedy.
The Community Remedy Document is required legally to provide guidance aimed to support and guide activity between the Police, victims of crime and anti-social behaviour, communities and offenders in delivering community remedy through the use of Out of Court Disposals.
The document will undergo continuous assessment regarding the use of Community Remedy within certain crime types whilst ensuring the changing views of victims and communities are represented and reflected. Since the legislation is new there are likely to be sceneries occur which will require amendments to this document.
Anti-social behaviour and low-level crime affects people’s lives on a daily basis, it matters to the victims and communities of Nottinghamshire. Dealing with Anti-social behaviour is a multi-agency responsibility due to the wide range of behaviours that are involved, from vandalism, street drinking to noisy and abusive neighbours and the Community Remedy document will be used to enhance the existing processes to deliver community resolutions and conditional cautions.
Although there are other Out of Court Disposals available to the Police, such as cautions and fixed penalty notices, only conditional cautions and community resolutions allow for additional reparation in consultation with the victim to be made.
The document is a list of options which might be appropriate to be carried out by a person who has engaged in anti-social behaviour or who has committed a low level offence and is suitable to be dealt with by means of a community resolution (CR) or conditional caution (Youth or Adult).
The Community Remedy is a means of consulting the victim about any possible conditions to be attached to their resolution. The legislation does not specify what actions should be included in the Community Remedy document; however, this document will specify the community opinion.