Restorative justice provision across the East Midlands region is diverse, including statutory service providers, such as the police, local councils, and probation services, as well as independent providers that are delivering commissioned services. Most of these services operate within or alongside the criminal justice system, and are either victim focused (supporting victims of crime) or offender focused (dealing with offender rehabilitation). Besides these, there are also local restorative justice service that operate outside of the criminal justice service.
The DLNR CRC can offer Restorative Justice Approaches to all Offenders with an identified Victim, whereby the perpetrator accepts responsibility for their offence and is willing to make amends. This service is also offered to our National Probation Service colleagues for any of their Service Users. There are just two Restorative Justice Facilitators that can work with cases in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland- namely Louise Cassie and Ruth Wilkinson. The Service is victim led and our referrals will normally come from the Offenders themselves or through the Victim Contact Team within the NPS. We are formally trained to facilitate face to face conferences or engage in shuttle mediation whereby questions and answers are taken to and from the Victim and the Perpetrator. We also facilitate apology letter writing. Alongside this we also offer a five session group work intervention to Offenders called ‘Making Amends’ which introduces them to experiences/consequences of crime for victims and the ripple effect this can have. It also provides insight into Restorative Justice approaches and enables them to decide if they would like to pursue this for their own offences. This intervention can be delivered both in a prison setting and /or the community.
Victims of crime can experience many different feelings including feeling angry, frightened and insecure. Some people have found involvement in the process of restorative justice can help them come to terms with the effects of crime and help them move on in life. At Leicester City Council Children and Young People’s Justice Service we offer victims:
• An opportunity for their views and feelings to be voiced
• Non-judgemental support and advice
• Unbiased information about the restorative process
• Referral to other agencies that could offer more long-term specialist support
Some young people are asked to attend a community panel and victims can attend these and speak to the panel or speak with the young person responsible for the crime, this will be with support of the Victim Liaison Officer. Our Victim Liaison Officer can also visit people at home and pass their views on to the young person and the panel.
A young person who has committed a crime might also be asked to do Reparation; unpaid work which should benefit either the victim of the crime directly or their community. Reparation can include a sincere letter of explanation from the young person delivered by the Victim Liaison Officer.
We offer Restorative Justice to residents of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, who have been Victims of crime. This is delivered by trained specialist Restorative Justice Practitioners and can be conducted through a face to face meeting, letter writing or a shuttle mediation process. We work closely with key partners throughout Nottinghamshire, such as the Police, Youth Offending Teams and Probation services.
Whilst we are victim led in all of our work, we can also accept referrals from Offenders who are interested in participating – but stress that it is entirely voluntary and cannot go ahead unless the Victim consents and is happy to go ahead with the process.
We have successfully facilitated many interventions, and all those who participated stated they felt they benefited from the process.
Victim First provides a safe environment for Restorative Justice to take place. As a victim of crime, we listen to what happened and how it has affected your life. We explain what is involved in Restorative Justice and the different approaches available to you. It is an opportunity where you can talk about the incident and the harm caused, the impact of the actions along with an opportunity to ask any questions you may have, in the hope of providing a means of closure and the chance to move forward with your life. We have a Specialist Restorative Justice Caseworker who you can talk too to explain what is involved and the benefits of this voluntary process.