£400,000 pledged to help empower victims of crime over the next five years

PCC Emily Spurrell signing a contract

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has pledged £400,000 over the next five years to give victims of crime the opportunity to get answers from those who have harmed them.

Emily Spurrell has announced she is expanding the region’s restorative justice service to run for the next five years.

Following a competitive tendering process, not-for-profit community interest company Restorative Solutions, has been commissioned to continue delivering a victim-led restorative justice services across the region from 1st April 2024 until 2027.

The service is set to be further uplifted in the first year with additional funding provided by the North West Probation Service.

Restorative Solutions has been offering victims in Merseyside the chance to come face-to-face with offenders since being awarded the original contract in 2018.

Restorative Justice brings victims and offenders together so they can tell one another their account of an incident with the aim of putting victims back in control and ensuring offenders understanding the consequences of their actions, with the aim of finding a positive way forward. 

Restorative justice is always voluntary and only happens if both the victim and offender agree to take part. Any meeting follows a detailed and careful assessment by a trained facilitator who reviews whether a case is suitable and the potential benefits of a victim and offender meeting, while assuring the process remains safe throughout. 

Victims, and offenders, can withdraw from the process at any point.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Restorative Solutions has a proven track record providing vital support for victims on Merseyside, so I’m delighted to award them a renewed contract so that they can continue this crucial service to help victims cope and recover. 

“Becoming a victim of crime can be hugely traumatic. It can often be life-changing; and what once felt normal and familiar no longer feels safe. Those negative repercussions can affect an individual for a very long time and while the criminal justice process deals with the offence, it can sometimes leave those harmed feeling out of control and in need of answers.

“Restorative Justice readdresses the balance, gives them a chance to explain the true impacts of crime to the offender, providing them with answers and restoring control.   

“By also holding offenders to account, Restorative Justice can play a crucial role in their rehabilitation by helping them to take responsibility for their actions, reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

“Improving outcomes for victims is a key priority for me, so I am pleased to extend this partnership with Restorative Solutions. I look forward to seeing how they continue to increase the use of restorative justice across Merseyside over the next five years, empowering more victims and helping to resolve the harm that has been caused, while reducing reoffending.”

Evidence shows that most people who take part in a Restorative Justice process come away feeling satisfied because it has allowed them to have their say.

It also helps people to move on and to feel less fearful of crime in the future.

Studies on restorative justice have highlighted:

  • 85% of victims who participated in face-to-face restorative justice were satisfied.
  • Restorative justice reduces the frequency of reoffending and led to £8 savings for every £1 spent.
  • 78% of victims that participated would recommend restorative justice to other victims.
  • Restorative justice reduced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms for victims.
  • Restorative justice has been found to significantly reduce levels of fear and anger in victims.

Kate Hook, Director of Corporate Services at Restorative Solutions CIC said: “Restorative Solutions are delighted to have been successful in our bid to retain delivery of the Merseyside Restorative Justice service, which we have been delivering since 2018 and which is commissioned jointly by the PCC for Merseyside and North West Probation Service, for the benefit of both victims and offenders across the area.

“With the new focus on even closer working with the probation service, supported by their contribution to the funding of this service, and the prospect of also building closer working relationships with both Merseyside Police and Victim Care Merseyside we are confident that the service will go from strength to strength in coming years.”

John Quick, Head of Operations for the North West Probation Service, said: “Restorative Justice empowers victims to talk openly about the impact that crime has had on their lives while helping them get the answers they deserve.

“This vital service also helps offenders to take responsibility for their actions and turn their backs on crime for good.”

The service, which will start from 1st April 2024, will receive £80,000 a year from the PCC’s office. It will be enhanced by an additional £19,000 from the North West Probation Service during 2024/25.

If you would like to find out more about the service, please visit https://www.restorativesolutions.org.uk/ or email [email protected]