Restorative Justice – Imagine being able to speak to the person who committed a crime against you!
This week marks International Restorative Justice Awareness Week which gives victims a chance to explain to offenders the real impact of their crime. They can get answers to their questions, and sometimes an apology.
Restorative Justice also provides a way for offenders to face up to their actions, understand the effects their behaviour has had on those involved, repair some of the harm caused and can help prevent them re-offending. It is victim focussed and can be an alternative way of dealing with incidents of low level crime and anti-social behaviour, rather than going through a more formal Court route.
The Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner has provided funding to enable the Borough of Poole to set up Neighbourhood Justice Panels. This expands upon the current Restorative Justice availability to victims and communities in Dorset and is part of a wider partnership programme, to empower victims and resolve crime and anti-social behaviour in Dorset.
Martyn Underhill, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am passionate about improving the support available to victims. Nationally the improvement in victim satisfaction as a result of Restorative Justice being used to deal with anti- social behaviour and crime is well documented. 85% of crime victims who have been through Restorative Justice were satisfied with the process and it has also produced a 14% reduction in the frequency of re-offending. It has also been shown to assist with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I know that it helps victims to move on with their lives.
Importantly, this process can also help offenders embrace victim empathy”
“I am keen to see Restorative Justice available to victims of crime in Dorset and the Poole scheme builds on the two established panels in West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.”
Poole’s Neighbourhood Justice Panels (NJPs) will be face to face scripted meetings, during which adult offenders of low-level crime and/or perpetrators of anti-social behaviour meet with their victims. It will be facilitated by a trained independent volunteer, along with a ‘co-facilitator’. The Neighbourhood Justice Panels can also be used to deal with matters such as housing and neighbourhood disputes which are affecting lives but where there is no clear offender and victim.
This initiative is being delivered by Safer Poole, a department focussed on delivering community safety initiatives to make Poole’s living and working environment feel and be safer.
Anthi Minhinnick, Poole’s Community Safety Partnership Manager said: “We are currently seeking suitable volunteers to be trained in order to prepare, support and guide individuals involved and facilitate the Panels”.
For more information and to apply, go to the Borough of Poole website