Today, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, launches county-wide Restorative Justice campaign
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner today (Tuesday, 2 June) launched a new county-wide campaign to raise awareness of the restorative justice service offered to victims of crime here in South Yorkshire.
The service offers victims the opportunity to communicate with the offender who committed the crime against them. It is hoped that by offering victims the opportunity to meet with the person who has committed the crime, they will get some important answers and a chance to have their voice heard and help them move on.
Dr Billings said: “The Victims Code now states that all victims are entitled to be given information about restorative justice. Anyone who has been a victim of crime in South Yorkshire is entitled to this service completely free of charge.
“Restorative Justice is a victim focused resolution to crime. It involves bringing the victim and offender in to communication in a safe environment. This partnership initiative is aimed at putting the victim first and providing them with the opportunity to hear the offender admit the crime, to tell the offender how they feel and how the crime has affected them and also to receive an apology.”
The service is being supported by a Ministry of Justice grant provided to the Commissioner and is a partnership initiative led by the South Yorkshire Criminal Justice Board, which comprises criminal justice partners including Office of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, South Yorkshire Police, Crown Prosecution Service, HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service), South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company, Youth Offending Teams, Prisons, Legal Aid Agency and Victim Support. Remedi are the service provider for restorative justice in South Yorkshire.
Superintendent Tim Innes said: “Research shows that victims who have taken part in the practice have found it provides closure and gives them the opportunity to find answers from their offender.
“Restorative Justice is available to anyone in South Yorkshire who has been a victim of crime and where there is an identifiable offender that has admitted responsibility. It is available at any stage of the criminal justice process and could help victims cope with the aftermath of a crime.”
Steve Jones, Director of Remedi said: “Remedi have offered a restorative justice service to victim for over 18 years. We have fully trained and accredited practitioners available to work closely with victims and to explore their options for involvement. The process is entirely voluntary and at no time will the victim be pressured in to anything.
“Feedback from victims who have participated is hugely positive with many expressing that involvement has enabled them to gain closure and to move on with their lives.
“The launch of the Restorative Justice Hub and the dedicated website means that more victims will have the opportunity to make an informed choice if restorative justice is something they wish to consider and demonstrates the commitment and vision the partners have to ensuring victims are placed at the heart of the justice process.”
Restorative justice can be face to face in the form of a restorative justice conference, where the victim has a chance to ask questions of the offender or via a third party through letters or shuttle conferencing, where messages can be passed between the victim and offender.
The restorative justice process is always structured and facilitated through a trained practitioner.
Victims can find out more information about the restorative service at www.restorativesouthyorkshire.co.uk text SYRJ to 82055 or call the dedicated helpline on 0800 561 1000
There is also a new Twitter account set up @RestorativeSY where additional information and good news will be tweeted out.