Community Justice Panels

What is Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice gives victims the opportunity to sit down with the person who has caused them harm.  it is an opportunity for the victim to explain how an incident has affected their life and hold the wrongdoer to account for what they have done.  It is an opportunity for the wrongdoer to take responsibility for their actions and try to make amends.  research indicates that restorative justice has significant benefits for victims and also helps reduce reoffending.

What are Community Justice Panels

Community Justice Panels provide a safe and neutral environment for restorative justice meetings to take place.  They allow everyone affected to talk about what has happened and come up with a way for the harm to be put right.

What kind of problems do Community Justice Panels deal with?

  • Criminal Damage
  • Theft
  • Assault
  • Anti-social behaviour and low level crime
  • Noise Nuisance
  • Neighbourhood disputes/conflicts

What sort of things might wrongdoers do to make amends?

Participants may come up with a variety of different ways for the harm to be repaired but usually include:

  • Work by the wrongdoer to make amends either directly to the harmed person or wider community – for example doing gardening or picking litter
  • A written or verbal apology
  • A written community justice agreement.  This is a physical record of any agreement made – for example, turning music down after 10pm – that both partners sign.

What are the benefits of Community Justice Panels?

Victims receive the opportunity to have their thoughts and feelings heard and acknowledged by wrongdoers.

Wrongdoers learn the real impact of their actions.  It gets to the bottom of the problem and tries to resolve it, and is more likely to prevent it happening again.

Local people get to be part of the justice system in their neighbourhood.  They make sure issues are dealt with on a community level.

How does the process work?

  • Everyone involved must agree to take part in the process.
  • The wrongdoer must acknowledge that they have caused harm.
  • A caseworker from the local community will be allocated to the case and make contact with each party to organise the panel.
  • Participants will attend the meeting where everyone is given the opportunity to speak.  Through a structured discussion, everyone comes to an agreement about how the harm can be repaired.
  • Agreed actions to repair harm take place.

Facilitators

Community Justice Panel facilitators are trained volunteers from the local community.  Volunteers receive restorative justice training and are monitored, supervised and supported by the Community Justice panel co-ordinator.

Becoming Involved

Becoming a facilitator is a great opportunity to become more involved in your local community.

Facilitators receive free restorative justice training and an opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

By becoming a facilitator you will be at the heart of communities, engaging with local people and providing them with the tools and guidance they need to resolve conflicts and move on.