Restorative Dorset is a new Dorset-wide service to enable victims of crimes, committed by adult offenders, to access restorative justice.
It focuses on the needs of victims, offenders and the involved community, as opposed to simply punishing the offender.
Restorative justice holds offenders directly accountable to their victims and can bring them together in a facilitated meeting. This gives victims an opportunity to inform offenders of the real impact of their crime.
Before the meeting, the offender must have accepted responsibility, and all participation is voluntary. Restorative justice can be used at any stage of a crime and for any type of crime, on a case-by-case’ basis.
The PCC marks the first anniversary of a restorative justice service coming to Dorset.
He writes: "I have long felt that the current ways of dealing with offenders through the criminal justice process don’t work. Victims are left feeling dissatisfied and unheard, while offenders rarely face the direct consequences of their actions and all too often simply return to criminality as soon as they are released.
"For example, those who carry out burglaries and thefts have been known to justify their crimes by saying the stolen items will be replaced through insurance – completely oblivious to the emotional impact their crimes have had.
"That is why I am a passionate supporter of restorative justice, and believe this is a vital service that can make a real difference both to victims and to the offenders themselves."
A service providing victims of crime in Dorset with the opportunity to speak directly to offenders, explain the impact of the crime and receive apologies has been running for a year.
Restorative Dorset, commissioned by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, is marking its first anniversary of helping people harmed by crime to move on by bringing them together with those responsible.
Feedback from users has been positive, with one writing: “It was important for me to hear his history. It helped me to hear that it was just random. Knowing his story made a real difference to me. That was a valuable experience to me and I will remember it forever.”