Today marks the start of International Restorative Justice Week.
The week, which runs until November 27th, aims to promote the potential benefits and advantages of taking part in Restorative Justice or (RJ).
Restorative Justice allows everyone involved in an offence, whether offender or victim, to come together to deal with the aftermath of that offence and its future implications. This can happen with a face-to-face meeting or with an exchange of letters or messages through a facilitator. If both parties are willing to meet and the person who committed the crime is willing to make amends for what they have done, then a trained facilitator will arrange a meeting.
Victims often want to understand why the crime has happened to them, and to be involved in what happens to the person who committed it. They may want to be sure they will not be harmed by that person again, to ask them questions about the crime and to explain face-to-face just what effect the crime has had on their life.
The Restorative Justice Process gives the person who committed the crime the chance to understand the real consequences of their actions. They have the chance not just to say sorry and feel sorry but to do something positive to repair some of the harm that has been done. This can help a person to build a new life free from crime, and would prevent further victims being created by their actions.
Research done on the effectiveness of Restorative Justice has shown that it is an extremely helpful process for both the perpetrators and the victims of crime, with 85% of victims saying they felt better about their situation after going through the process of Restorative Justice. The work is done through a partnership of Probation, Police, Prisons, Victim Support and other agencies.
Here on Merseyside, the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, works with the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), to offer RJ to victims across the region.
To find out more please visit the Merseyside CRC website or take a look at this leaflet which will explain more.