If you have been a victim of crime or anti-social behaviour you could ask to take part in Restorative Justice.
Restorative Justice seeks to bring all parties involved in an incident together to play a part in repairing the harm caused and find a positive way forward. It can be used in a wide range of cases from low level offending to grave and serious crimes.
Why should you take part?
Restorative Justice holds offenders to account for what they have done, personally and directly, and helps victims to get on with their lives. It has shown to be more effective than some traditional methods of dealing with incidents reported to the police, helps reduce fear and in some cases, post-traumatic stress. It has also shown reductions in the offending behaviour.
It gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime and get answers to their questions. It lets offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done, to take responsibility and make amends as well as focusing on the future and moving forward.
Imagine that the other party involved in your incident is with you now…
· What would you want to say to them?
· What will they say in reply?
· What would your family wish to say to them?
Ask yourself, what would make things better for you?
Types of Restorative Justice
A Police Officer will make a decision on the type of Restorative Justice needed based on the facts of the case. These include:
Instant Restorative Justice
A quick and informal meeting usually delivered at or near the location of the incident at the time of police response or following a short delay.
Formal Restorative Justice Conference
This is used to resolve what can be more serious, complex or persistent matters; it is delivered by a specially trained facilitator at a time and place convenient to all participants. It may require some preparation by participants or involvement of partner agencies.
Indirect Restorative Justice
Occasionally there will be times when it is not appropriate to bring all parties together but participants are still happy to resolve the problem through a restorative approach. The main difference with this method is that the questions and answers relating to the incident are relayed by a facilitator to participants on an individual basis.
What happened and why. The person who caused the harm describes the incident. He or she may explain what led up to the behaviour and what happened afterwards. Persons harmed often ask questions like, “Why me?” or, “What happened to the property?”
How people are affected. This may be the only time the one who caused the harm ever gets an opportunity to hear the true consequences of his or her actions.
Implications for the future
What needs to happen in order to repair or address the harm caused and prevent it from happening again? An outcome agreement is usually drawn up after this stage.
This is an opportunity for those present to speak together completely informally, only if they wish. Often, this is the stage where participants feel able to start to move on from the adverse effects of the incident.
Frequently asked questions:
What is the facilitator there to do?
The facilitator is specially trained to run the process and ensure actions are taken to maintain a safe environment. A co-facilitator will also be present to provide support if needed.
Where and when will the meeting take place?
The meeting will take place at a time and place convenient to all participants.
How long will the meeting last?
It depends on the circumstances. Each conference can last for 1-2 hours. Shorter meetings can be arranged if appropriate.
Can I take someone with me?
Each party can bring supporters with them.
Does it work? Feedback from a participant:
“Meeting with the person who burgled my home, in November 2008, helped me deal with many of the issues that were beginning to have a detrimental effect on my life. I was able to ask questions that were so important to me and began to form some kind of understanding of the reasons behind the offender’s actions.
I also now feel that victims of crime, wherever possible, should not only have the opportunity to meet with the offender, but that they should have greater say in how he/she is dealt with. In many cases, feeling that the offender has an understanding of the harm they have caused and enabling him/her to give something back, as part of their sentence/punishment, is a great compensation to the victim.”
If you would like further information about restorative justice, please make contact by sending an email to the Restorative Justice mailbox - RJAdmin@lancashire.pnn.police.uk or by telephoning:
- Phil Cawley on 01253 604075
- Dawn Sedgebeer on 01524 596659
If the RJ Coordinator is out of the office, please leave a short message and your contact details and we will get back to you shortly.