Month: March 2016

South Yorkshire showcases successful Restorative Justice provision

Dr Alan Billings South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner hosted the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice showcase on Wednesday 9 March at the Rotherham United Aesseal New York stadium.

The showcase was attended by over 100 delegates who heard accounts from victims, offenders, service-users, community justice panels co-ordinators and volunteers, police officers and service provider Remedi representatives.  The order of events followed the Restorative Justice provision in South Yorkshire’s journey and provided information on how the service can be accessed.

DSC_0370The event started with an opening speech from Dr Billings, who explained his own personal experience with crime and how a burglary at his home many years ago made him think about the effect of a crime on the offender.

Dr Alan Billings said: “Today’s showcase has highlighted very strongly the benefits of Restorative Justice to both the victim and the offender.  We have heard from Sarah who lost her son in a tragic dangerous driving incident and how Restorative Justice has helped her piece together a jigsaw with many missing pieces.

DSC_0358“Shannel, a remarkable woman who not only chose to meet the man who assaulted her in a shoplifting incident in Sheffield, but found herself hugging him at the end of the Restorative Justice conference.  There was also a young offender who bravely stood in front of over 100 professionals and admitted he was wrong in his actions and showed how he is now turning his life around and attributed this change to his restorative justice experience.”

The audience heard from guest speakers Professor Joanna Shapland from the University of Sheffield who spoke about her research in to Restorative Justice and the difficulty of engaging victims and offenders when they know very little about what it means.

Inspector Richard Hammond explained about how the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub works and highlighted its success since the launch in June 2015.  He said: “715 victims have been contacted personally by the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub of which 426 took part in a home visit from a Remedi practitioner and so far over half of these have expressed an interest in taking part in a Restorative Justice outcome.

“Victims and organisations can refer in to the hub at any stage of the criminal justice process if they feel they would like more information on Restorative Justice.”

DSC_0462South Yorkshire’s Restorative Justice provider Remedi’s Assistant Director Nicola Bancroft spoke about the benefits of Restorative Justice to the victims.  She explained that seeing a victim and offender in a Restorative Justice conference can be extremely satisfying.  This is especially so when you see the positive impact on a victim from hearing answers to questions and finally being able to tell a person who has committed a crime against them how they feel.

Linda Mayhew from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner who organised the event said: “I am really pleased with the reaction to the speakers today.  We have heard some fascinating accounts of Restorative Justice in practice,  how to access the service here in South Yorkshire and the positive benefits of taking part from both victim and offender perspective.

“The service users all gave some very specific and personal accounts of their experiences and I am very grateful to them all for sharing these with us.”

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Restorative Justice provider interviewed on ITV’s Tonight Programme

On Thursday, 3 March at 7.30pm, the Tonight programme called Tonight: Meeting My Enemy will be shown on ITV which will include an interview with Remedi’s Assistant Director Nicola Bancroft.

Nicola will be speaking about the benefits of Restorative Justice to victims of crime by highlighting a recent case Remedi case workers dealt with.

The Restorative Justice conference brought together the parents of James Hodgkinson, who sadly died after being assaulted in Nottingham City Centre in July 2011 and Jacob Dunne, the offender that threw the punch that subsequently led to James’s death.

Jacob pleaded guilty to the offence and served 14 months of his 30 month prison sentence.  He met with James’s parents in September 2015 and the ITV footage shows how they met up again after their initial conference to now work together on a campaign highlighting to others that one punch can kill.

Calling Card - InfoRestorative Justice offers victims the opportunity to meet or engage with the offender who has committed the crime against them.  The Restorative Justice process can happen face to face or by indirect contact such as letters or messages passed by representatives.  It gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime and get answers or an apology.

Nicola Bancroft assistant Director for Remedi said: “Restorative Justice is very powerful and can provide a number of positive outcomes for a victim; their family and the offender.

“In Thursday’s programme I will be speaking about the benefits of Restorative Justice and how Remedi supported James’s parents and Jacob throughout the Restorative Justice process.

“In the case of James and Jacob, James’s parents said involvement in RJ has helped to take their anger away, they now feel they have answers to questions and can see that Jacob did not intend to kill their son. The outcome of this process and the work they intend to do together to raise awareness, will hopefully benefit others in the future”.

“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in Restorative Justice to watch the programme.”

Remedi are the Restorative Justice providers for the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub.

Director Anna Hall has taken two years to produce the film for ITV.  She says: “It’s been remarkable watching the process of Restorative Justice in action.

“In the film we feature two cases, both involving 19 year old lads. The questions which were answered through this process clearly brought peace of mind and an ability for the victims to move on from the pain of the crime itself”.

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