International week championing restorative justice (19 Nov 2018)

An International week to champion restorative justice is now under way.

Restorative justice brings those harmed by crime, and those responsible for that harm, into communication with each other.

This contact can offer victims the opportunity to be heard, to ask questions of the offender, and to have their say in the resolution.

It has a proven, significant impact in supporting victims in achieving closure by allowing them to move on with their lives with 85% of participating victims indicating that they would recommend it to others.

A victim of burglary that attended a recent restorative justice meeting in West Yorkshire said: "I can now leave the house without thinking there might be someone in it when I return. It has really helped, it has given me closure, and I feel much more positive."

To read more about this meeting click here.

For offenders, restorative justice provides an opportunity to face the consequences of their actions by recognising the impact they have had upon others, and where possible making amends which may also impact on their behaviour in the future.

This international week which runs until 25 November, follows the recent launch of the first ever West Yorkshire-wide restorative justice programme.

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson commissioned the service, which is provided by Restorative Solutions CIC, investing £900,000 of funding over the next three years.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "I made a commitment in my Police and Crime Plan to put victims and witnesses at the heart of the services that we provide.

"This international week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of these free services that can be really crucial in helping both the victim to recover and re-offending to reduce as a result of a restorative intervention.

"I would urge any victims or witnesses that are over 18 years old, that feel like they could benefit from this approach to get in touch with Restorative Solutions CIC or my office directly to make best use of this service."

Gary Stephenson, Chief Executive, Restorative Solutions CIC said: "Restorative Solutions are committed to giving victims across West Yorkshire the opportunity to communicate with those who have caused them harm.

"This communication can take many forms and is always conducted in a safe and supportive way. The process allows offenders the opportunity to hear from the victims about the impact and harm caused by the crime.

"We are working with a range of victim and offender organisations across West Yorkshire who have embraced the approach with enthusiasm and offers of support. Mark Burns Williamson the PCC for West Yorkshire and his team have worked hard to make this happen and shares our ambition of raising awareness of Restorative Justice and accessibility for all victims in West Yorkshire."

During International Restorative Justice Week, the RJ Service will be raising awareness of the service at venues across West Yorkshire.

  • Bradford, Brittania House, Monday 19th November , 9am-11am
  • Huddersfield, Brian Jackson Centre, Monday 19th November, 10am-4pm
  • Bradford City Hall, Tuesday 20th November, 11am - 1pm
  • Leeds, University of Leeds, Tuesday 20th November, 12noon - 4pm
  • Wakefield, Victim Support Hub, Wednesday 21st November 10am - 4pm
  • Halifax, Customer First Hub, Thursday 22nd November 11am - 1pm

ACC Catherine Hankinson of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We are victim focussed Force and working with partners including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner we want to ensure victims have a true voice in the criminal justice process.

"Restorative justice helps to achieve that as it has been shown to help reduce re-offending as it can make offenders understand the true harm they have caused. Achieving this is a constant process but this national initiative helps to bring it into even sharper focus.

"We support this week as we support any initiative that helps promote the positives of restorative justice."

If you would like to know more about the restorative justice service in West Yorkshire visit www.rjwestyorkshire.org.uk or call 0800 783 1550.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018