8th September 2016
Restorative Justice was back in the news again last week when a report by the Justice Committee of MPs advised that the provision for restorative justice was currently a postcode lottery.
This is not the case for residents in South Yorkshire. Any victim living in South Yorkshire can access restorative justice at any point in the criminal justice process through the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub. The ‘hub’ is funded by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, and was launched in June 2015.
Restorative Justice allows victims the opportunity to meet or contact the person who committed the crime against them. This could be a direct meeting or contact through letters or messages. The offender also has to be willing to meet the victim.
It is clearly not something for everyone – victim or offender. But some value the chance to make contact – victim and offender.
There have been many successful outcomes in South Yorkshire, with a number of victims actually meeting their offender to ask important questions that has helped them move on with their lives. Victims often just want to ask why the crime was committed against them. They wanted reassurance that they were not targeted and that the perpetrators were not coming back.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “It is extremely important that victims understand that they can access Restorative Justice here in South Yorkshire. Victims can self-refer themselves in to the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub and the hub coordinator will then do all the necessary work to ensure the victims’ needs are met.
“Restorative Justice aims to give the victims a voice and help ‘restore’ or ‘repair’ any harm that may have been caused from the crime being committed against them. Whilst it is not for everybody, many that have been through the process agree that it has given them some closure.
“Here in South Yorkshire, I am encouraged by the number of referrals received by the hub and just how many of these have resulted in direct or in-direct outcomes. I would urge anyone who thinks that Restorative Justice will help them to make contact.”
In the first year, the South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub dealt with 286 interested parties, of which 96 resulted in a direct or in-direct outcome.