Avon and Somerset OPCC and Police have made a commitment to develop restorative justice (RJ), and put victims of crime and anti-social behaviour first. Avon and Somerset Restorative Partnership aims to shape the future of restorative justice. Delivering best practice restorative justice to meet the needs of victims. Making things right instead of being resigned to what has gone wrong.
Restorative justice is working...
The restorative justice service has been live for over a year now and the restorative justice Coordinators and delivery partners are busier than ever.
Restorative Justice (RJ) gives victims the chance to meet or communicate with the offender, to give them a chance to explain the impact the crime has had on them. It really empowers the victims as it gives them a voice. It also holds the offender to account for what they have done and encourages them to face up to their actions.
Every victim in Avon and Somerset can now access RJ at ANY stage of the criminal justice system, as part of an Out of Court Disposal and post sentence. In fact if a victim is not ready at a certain point in time, RJ can even happen a long time after an incident.
One victim said:
“I feel that going through restorative justice was an amazing programme. I feel much more settled and although it was tough I am really glad she went through the process.
“You focused on my needs the whole way through. My Dad was worried about me going through the process but I have spoken to my close friends and family and they can see that it was right for me.”
An RJ meeting, which is set up by an RJ Co-ordinator, can be used for everything from neighbour disputes to serious crimes. RJ is voluntary and only takes place if everyone agrees to it.
The meeting is held at a neutral location and is led by the RJ professional. Relatives or friends are also welcome to come along for support.
One of our ‘Lighthouse’ Victim and Witness Care Officers who observed an restorative justice meeting said:
“I was very impressed with the outcome of this RJ conference. It illustrated how RJ is the way forward. Not only for victim and perpetrators but for economic reasons and preventing incidents going through the Criminal Justice system at great expense.”
A police officer in Avon and Somerset said:
“Restorative Justice works but why does it? RJ works because it helps people get over the trauma of the event. We can deal with their offender, we can charge them to court, but they are still left with questions such as why me? Why did you burgle my house? With less resource our time is stretched. The victim will get the chance to have better closure. This could mean that there will be less reoffending. To not think about Restorative Justice will make your work harder, and will disadvantage the victim. Making that difference is why we joined.”
The 15-22 November 2015 marked Restorative Justice Week and the Office of the PCC engaged in a variety of initiatives to help raise awareness of the approach that is putting victims back in control - to find out more click here.
Restorative Justice Development Update
Restorative Justice Development - Interim Update - September 2015
Building restorative justice capacity in Avon and Somerset
The Ministry of Justice has made funding available to PCCs under the Ministry of Justice Victim Services Grant to build restorative justice capacity, and where capacity is sufficient, fund victim-led restorative justice provision. Funding is available until the end of March 2016 and has been allocated to support delivery of victim-led restorative services across Avon and Somerset to operate alongside the Lighthouse Integrated Victim Care model.
The PCC is keen to promote the use of neighbourhood restorative justice sites, utilising volunteer RJ practictioners, as part of a wider commitment to opening up and increasing community involvement and to giving victims a greater say in the resolution of crime and in justice outcomes. The PCC is also keen to support good quality, victim-focused restorative justice to be available at all stages of the criminal justice system.
In January 2015, the PCC invited proposals for the creation of a Restorative Justice Delivery Service in the form of a Neighbourhood Restorative Justice site for Bristol, the North East (covering South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset) and Somerset (covering North Somerset and Somerset). The succesful providers can be found below:
|Service ||Provider/s ||Description ||Value|
|Provision of Restorative Justice Delivery Service in Bristol
||The Neighbourhood Justice Team, Bristol
||The Neighbourhood Justice Team aim to provide an innovative approach to delivering restorative justice across Bristol, ensuring victims are always at the centre of their processes. Their aim is to offer victims a voice at any stage of the criminal justice process, encouraging offenders to have a greater insight into the impact of their actions. Furthermore they aim to engage local people in contributing to the ways offending and offensive behaviour is handled at a local level. Their goal is to deliver a project that will offer anyone that comes into contact with the criminal justice service or in conflict within the community, an opportunity to participate in a restorative intervention when appropriate.
Provision of Restorative Justice Delivery Service in the North East
(covering Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire)
|Bristol Mediation, Neighbourhood Justice Team - Avon and Somerset Police & Stand against Racism and Inequality (SARI)
||A collaborative partnership from three established and respected agencies, combining skills and expertise to deliver a breadth of restorative justice knowledge and interventions into the wider areas of South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset. Their aim is to have a joined up holistic approach that supports the victim, their family and communities enabling their voice to be heard and empowering them to move towards closure and for perpetrators to have greater insight into the impact of their behaviour. In the process they hope to create more resilient and cohesive communities to lead to improved communication, a change in offending behaviour and lead to re-integration and positive ways forward.
Provision of Restorative Justice Delivery Service in Somerset
(covering North Somerset and Somerset)
|Somerset Community Justice Partnership
||Established in 2011, Somerset Community Justice Partnership's main aim is to practice and promote restorative justice conferencing and restorative approaches in a range of settings. The partnership offers multiple services including restorative justice conferences, offering victims and perpetrators a safe and controlled environment in which to come together. They also train and support people from the local communities who volunteer as restorative practitioners as well as continually looking for opportunities to raise awareness of restorative justice across Somerset.