Restorative justice for crime victims

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Police are encouraging people to think about restorative justice and how it could work for them as part of International Restorative Justice Week.

Restorative justice (RJ) gives victims the chance to meet or communicate with the person or people who have caused them harm – to explain the real impact they’ve had on them.

It also holds offenders to account for what they’ve done and helps them to take responsibility and try to make amends.

The Code of Practice for Victims stipulates all victims of crime are entitled to have access to restorative justice.

Many police officers in Lancashire have been trained in restorative justice over the years and in addition to this there are now four dedicated RJ Coordinators within the force.

Their role is to raise awareness of RJ and guide and support officers, victims and offenders through the process. They facilitate restorative justice right across the spectrum of offending, from anti-social behaviour to serious crimes.

The coordinators also support a number of Community RJ Panels across the county which are made up of 12 community volunteers.

The panels aim to use restorative approaches to resolve issues affecting their community which may not require police intervention, for example parking issues. Such issues can be brought to the panel’s attention via the council, local businesses or residents themselves.

Tim Ewen, Head of Business Support, said: “Restorative justice allows victims to try and come to terms with what’s happened to them – it can be the only opportunity they get to ask those questions that only the offender can answer.”