PCC supports national Restorative Justice Week

This week (Monday 16 – Sunday 22 November) is National Restorative Justice (RJ) Week.

RJ Week aims to raise awareness about Restorative Justice, and looks to illustrate the benefits that Restorative Justice can bring to victims of crime whilst also helping to reduce re-offending and supporting other local initiatives by the Norfolk and Suffolk RJ Service.

Restorative Justice is ‘victim focused’ and in appropriate cases helps victims cope and recover from the impact of a crime or incident.

Any RJ intervention requires careful preparation, initially meeting with the victim and subsequently with the offender before considering whether any intervention is appropriate. If the process is managed safely, in accordance with national guidance, RJ can deliver very positive outcomes for all participants, helping victims and reducing re-offending.

Neil Luckett, Restorative Justice Service Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “RJ Week really focuses on the wider benefits of RJ and emphasises that if RJ is delivered in a safe and effective manner, it can have real benefits for victims of crime and can reduce re-offending.

“Since April we’ve had nearly 40 referrals and provided RJ information to over 100 victims. We have also delivered interventions to six offenders, none of whom have gone on to reoffend, and all of whose victims have expressed their satisfaction at the offenders taking part.

“The message is very clear: RJ is not just there to be used as an out of court disposal, it can be used at any time outside of the court process, even after a case has finished at court. The RJ Service is here to provide advice around RJ and deliver interventions in appropriate cases, if you are thinking about RJ in a case you are dealing with you must contact the RJ Service.”

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Victims of crime are central to all that we do.

“I fully support the work of the victim-centred Restorative Justice Service, which is driven by the needs of victims and puts the victim in the driving seat. I believe the positive benefits that can be achieved from Restorative Justice are not always understood or recognised, so I welcome this national focus on the service.

“From the examples that I have seen, restorative justice works. It gives victims the chance to tell offenders about the impact of their crime, get answers to their questions, and to receive an apology. It holds offenders to account for their actions and helps them to understand the real impact of their actions. It will not suit every situation but it is really important victims understand that this option is available to them and they can see the benefits of using restorative justic

The Restorative Justice Service will also be utilising social media during RJ Week, with a brand new Twitter page (@RJNorfSuff) that you can follow. You can also get involved on Twitter by using the hashtags #RJNorfolkSuffolk and #RestorativeJustice and check the dedicated Victim Support webpage for more information.

Nationally, the Ministry of Justice are leading an awareness campaign with the strapline ‘I’ve got something to say’.

As part of the current focus on RJ, on Friday 23 October 2015 Suffolk Constabulary officers and staff attended a Restorative Justice event delivered by RJ promoters ‘Why me?’.

The event was funded by the Ministry of Justice and was principally aimed at raising police awareness about the wider benefits of RJ through a series of presentations and demonstrations.

Neil said: “The ‘Why Me?’ event should really enable those who attended to work with their teams and the RJ Service to deliver effective and safe RJ interventions in the future.

“Wider police understanding is critical to the delivery of safe and effective RJ so I’m delighted that the day was a success and I hope that those who attended will be able to disseminate the knowledge they picked up amongst colleagues during RJ Week and beyond.”

The RJ Service will be holding an ‘RJ Surgery’ at Bury St Edmunds Police Station on Thursday 19th November between 12pm and 3pm for officers and staff, as well as members of the public.

You can contact the RJ Service by email rjnorfolksuffolk@victimsupport.org.uk, or call 01473 322681.