More victims to get answers as PCC confirms restorative justice service will run for second year

A service that helps victims of crime to get answers from offenders will be run for a second year, Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has confirmed today.

In 2015, Jane Kennedy announced that she would be working with Merseyside’s Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and not-for-profit community interest company Restorative Solutions to raise awareness of restorative justice and increase its use in the region, giving victims in Merseyside the chance to come face-to-face with offenders and make them realise the consequences of their crimes.

Following confirmation of Ministry of Justice funding, the Commissioner is now enabling the service to continue to run for a second year, through 2016 and into 2017. Following a rigorous tendering exercise, Jane has announced today that the CRC and Restorative Solutions will once again deliver a victim-led restorative justice scheme across the whole of Merseyside.

Jane said: “Restorative justice gives victims the chance to be heard, to get answers and to get a sense of closure. Giving victims who want to the chance to come face-to-face with those who have committed crimes against them and can help them to find a really positive way forward and even give them back some control over their anxieties.

“While restorative justice may not be for everyone, the aim is to ensure any victim of crime who feels this approach could benefit them is able to find out more, discuss their options with an experienced and accredited practitioner and decide if it really is for them. That’s exactly what the CRC and Restorative Solutions are providing on Merseyside.

“Not only that, but they are raising awareness to make sure more and more victims of crime know that this is a path they can take if they feel it could help them.

“I am pleased that the CRC and Restorative Solutions will continue to deliver this service for people across Merseyside, no matter where they live.”

Merseyside CRC and Restorative Solutions will continue to work closely with Merseyside Police and all the Commissioner’s criminal justice partners to deliver this service over the next 12 months, with the four key aims of 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 victim and delivered by a trained facilitator.

Through this service, restorative justice is available at all stages of the criminal justice process, including pre-conviction and even in cases where a victim has not reported an offence to the police.

Restorative justice should always be 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 also have the opportunity to withdraw at any point.

In February, the CRC hosted a major conference at the Anglican Cathedral which aimed to give the public a wider understanding of restorative justice and the impact it can have, both on the victim and the offender. Those who attended heard of the “tremendous benefit” a restorative justice conference had for a woman who chose to meet her partner’s killer, helping her to come to terms with what had happened.

Merseyside CRC’s Head of Operations and Development John Quick said: “We are so pleased to have been re-commissioned to deliver victim led Restorative Justice  in Merseyside for the next 12 months.”

The CRC and Restorative Solutions have previously delivered specialist restorative justice training to specific teams within Merseyside Police. This training aimed to equip PCSOs with greater knowledge and understanding of restorative justice to enable them to identify the cases where a victim would benefit from participating to help them cope and recover.

You can contact the Restorative Justice  team on 08452660761 or Email rjenquiries@merseyside.probation.gsi.gov.uk