Posted: Tuesday 23rd July 2019
How much do you really know about Restorative Justice? Many have heard about it in some shape or form but don’t really know how the process works and the benefits it can bring to victims, offenders and the wider community. Restorative Justice (RJ) empowers victims by allowing them to communicate with the offender about the impact of the crime. This can be via a face to face meeting, or through letters, video shuttles, Skype or any other practical method that both parties agree to.
The process is hugely powerful in offering victims the opportunity to ask questions about the crime and talk about how it impacted them. It empowers them to express their feelings, and has helped many victims on their journey to recovery. For the offender, this process provides an opportunity to understand the impact of their behaviour and to help put things right.
Many people also don’t appreciate the benefits of Restorative Justice in Hate Crime cases. It can be used for ‘low level’ offences as part of a CR or even NFA, and also used post-sentence in more serious offences. Officers should be considering whether RJ could benefit the victim further down the line throughout their involvement in the case. The Sussex Hate Crime Project reported that of their 3000 Muslim and LGBT participants, 61% would rather a restorative approach than a criminal justice response.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary and OPCC have recently been working in partnership with the national organisation ‘Why Me?’ who are working to increase the use of RJ for Hate Crime. In developing relationships with Resolve West (the commissioned RJ service) and SARI, they have developed a good understanding about how they can improve the local understanding of RJ and encourage victims of hate crime to engage. For more information on the project please visit; https://why-me.org/campaigns/hate-crime-restorative-justice/
As part of the wider efforts in making us ‘outstanding’ in responding to hate crime; RJ can help us get there.
If you have any questions about Restorative Justice, contact our commissioned Restorative Justice provider, Restorative Approaches Avon & Somerset via email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ cases.restorative@approaches,cjsm.net or telephone 0117 9415879.