Deputy Police Commissioner urges
victims to consider restorative justice
MERSEYSIDE'S Deputy Police Commissioner
is marking International Restorative Justice Week by encouraging victims of
crime who want to get answers from the perpetrators to use the county's
restorative justice service.
Cllr Emily Spurrell made the appeal as she promoted the awareness raising week
by visiting Victim Support Merseyside, who deliver the Police Commissioner's
service offering victims of crime the option to access restorative justice on
During the visit, she met the team who run the Restorative Justice service and
heard examples of how the service has benefited victims of crime across
Merseyside, including the account of 1 Merseyside woman who was shot during a
robbery, at a Petrol Station.
After going through the restorative justice process and eventually meeting her
attacker the woman said:- "I never thought I would be able to go a whole
day without remembering what happened on the day I was shot. Now I tend to think
more about the positive experience of the meeting I had with him."
Restorative justice enables a victim to have contact with those responsible for
the crime to explain to them the real impact of their offending behaviour and to
get answers to their questions. It empowers a victim to challenge the offender's
actions and it can often be a huge step in helping them move forward and recover
from the crime.
International Restorative Justice Week runs from November 19 to 26 and aims to
increase awareness and knowledge of restorative justice and how victims of crime
can use it to find a positive way forward.
Emily said:- "The theme for this year's International Restorative Justice
Week is 'Valuing Victims' which highlights the fact that the victims lie at the
heart of our restorative justice service here in Merseyside. For some people
affected by crime, it can be very difficult living with unanswered questions and
it may be that the only person who can answer those questions is the person who
did the harm. Restorative justice is about giving victims the chance to be
heard, to get answers and to get a sense of closure; for some victims the
process is invaluable in helping them to cope, recover and move forward with
their lives. As we mark International Restorative Justice Week, I was delighted
to visit Victim Support Merseyside to hear 1st hand about the work they are
delivering and how it is making a difference in the lives of people who have
been through some very traumatic experiences. I want to use this opportunity to
highlight the service that Victim Support Merseyside offers, so that if anyone
affected by crime thinks restorative justice could be useful for them they know
how to access it."
Any person who has been affected by crime can contact Victim Support Merseyside
to see if restorative justice could work for them. It is a free, confidential
service. Victim Support Merseyside have trained facilitators who will discuss a
case with an individual, look at the options available and, if appropriate, work
with Police and other partners to make it happen.
Restorative justice is always voluntary and only takes place after an offender
has accepted responsibility for the crime, and both victim and offender have
agreed to take part. A trained facilitator also has to assess the case as
suitable. It is not designed to replace criminal proceedings.
Evidence shows that more than 85% of victims who have taken part in restorative
justice processes have come away feeling satisfied.
Victim Support Merseyside's Operations Manager Barbara Oakley said:- "As a
team we take great care to make sure that every individual using the restorative
justice service feels safe and secure at every stage. Restorative Justice is so
powerful and brings benefits for people that traditional criminal justice
proceedings can't, including feeling empowered and finding peace of mind."
Officers and PCSO's from Merseyside Police have also been trained to recognise
and identify when restorative justice could benefit a victim and are able to
highlight this service to victims when appropriate.
Anyone interested in finding out more or taking part in restorative justice
should contact Victim Support by calling:- (0151) 353 4003 or
emailing the RJ Team.