New service to support victims through restorative justice

Merseyside / August 16

Victims of crime will now have greater opportunity to get answers from offenders thanks to a new partnership between Merseyside’s Police Commissioner and a leading restorative justice organisation.

Following a competitive tendering process, Jane Kennedy and Deputy PCC, Cllr Emily Spurrell, have chosen not-for-profit community interest company Restorative Solutions to lead on delivering victim-led restorative justice services across Merseyside for the next nine months.

The partnership will see a dedicated restorative justice practioner based within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner working to raise awareness of the service, ensuring victims in Merseyside have the chance to come face-to-face with offenders and make them realise the impact of their actions.

Restorative justice brings victims and offenders together to tell one another their account of an incident with the aim of putting victims back in control and presenting offenders with the consequences of their actions.

Restorative justice is always voluntary and only takes place after both the victim and offender agree and a trained facilitator has assessed the case as suitable. This means a lot of careful preparatory work is required before a victim and offender meet. Victims, and offenders, have the opportunity to withdraw at any point.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Emily Spurrell said: “I am keen to support any measure that allows the voice of victims to be heard and helps those affected by crime to reach a sense of closure that sometimes cannot be found in sentencing alone. Restorative justice approaches are just one of the ways we can do that.

“Restorative justice gives victims a voice and the opportunity to get answers. Giving victims the chance to come face-to-face with those who have committed crimes against them can be really empowering and help people who have been affected by crime to find a positive way forward.

“It can also have a really significant impact on the offender, forcing them to realise the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for what they have done. Evidence shows that this can reduce reoffending.

“Restorative Solutions has a really successful track record of working with victims, offenders and criminal justice partners. They lead on restorative justice in many of other areas and they have demonstrated considerable skill when working on existing restorative justice schemes in Merseyside and on initiatives with my office in the past.

“By working in partnership with them, I hope to increase the use of restorative justice across Merseyside over the next three years, helping more people to cope and recover, resolving the harm that has been caused and reducing reoffending.”

Restorative Solutions will work closely with Merseyside Police and all the PCC’s criminal justice partners to generate greater awareness and use of restorative justice and deliver an effective and consistent service across the entire region.

The nine-month contract, which has potential to be extended for a further 12 months, focuses on four key aims; increasing access; working with criminal justice partners to increase the number of restorative justice referrals; improving awareness and understanding of restorative justice and its benefits and delivering a high quality service focussed on the needs of victims and delivered by a trained facilitator.

Executive Chair of Restorative Solutions, Gary Stephenson, said: “We are confident that Restorative Justice has a place in the Merseyside, an area I am particularly familiar with, and we will work with the Police & Crime Commissioner and her team to develop an effective, safe and inclusive Restorative Justice Service for Merseyside. We both share the ambition of increasing awareness and demand for Restorative Justice in Merseyside.”

The service has been funded through the Ministry of Justice’s Victims’ Services and Restorative Justice grant for 2018/19. Organisations were invited to apply for the service through the Blue Light portal, an E-Tendering solution for all Emergency Services.

Anyone interested in finding out more about restorative justice should email [email protected] or call 07377800254

You can also take a look at this leaflet to find out more.