“It brought closure to a horrific incident” - Restorative Justice Championed in National Week

Restorative Justice (RJ) enables victims of crime to engage with the person who committed the crime. It puts victims at the heart of the justice process and gives them a chance to ask the offender any questions that they have.

24th November 2021

“It brought closure to a horrific incident” - a victim of robbery from West Yorkshire is encouraging others to consider using Restorative Justice to overcome their experiences, as a national week dedicated to the service is underway.

‘Janine’ was walking home when she was grabbed, shouted at, and attacked, before her handbag was stolen.

Whilst the perpetrator was caught, convicted and sent to prison, Janine was left with post traumatic stress disorder.

She was referred to Restorative Justice by her Victim Liaison Officer, and after consideration, agreed to explore the process.

Restorative Justice (RJ) enables victims of crime to engage with the person who committed the crime. It puts victims at the heart of the justice process and gives them a chance to ask the offender any questions that they have. It allows them the opportunity to get anything that they want to say about the impact of the crime off their chest.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, commissions the RJ service in West Yorkshire, which is provided by Restorative Solutions.

Janine was guided through the processes by trained facilitators at Restorative Solutions, and after both her and the offender agreed to the process, letters were exchanged which further cemented the desire to meet from both sides.

Meeting the offender in prison, she received an apology and answers to her questions.

Speaking on the meeting, Janine, said: “It was great, he spoke first, and he was very apologetic, and I could tell he was sincere.

“He answered all my questions truthfully and I explained about the impact it’d had on me. If you have the opportunity to do it, then do it, I’d thoroughly recommend it.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to Janine for her bravery in sharing her experiences and helping other victims of crime.

“It’s Restorative Justice Week which is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the difference the service can have. Done with the skilled facilitation of trained and experienced individuals, it can help victims to reduce feelings of anxiety, empowering them as part of their recovery.

“It also allows a discussion with the offender about taking responsibility for their actions, whilst managing the risk of further harm. This approach has been shown to reduce the chances of repeat offending.

“No offence type is excluded from restorative justice, requests into the service are treated with the upmost sensitivity.”

Kate Brooksbank, West Yorkshire Service Delivery Manager, said: “Restorative Justice Week provides us with the opportunity to raise awareness of the service and how both victims and offenders can access RJ. In West Yorkshire we are proud of the service we deliver, and we would encourage anyone that feels that they might benefit from this approach or who wants to find out more, to get in contact with us and have a conversation with one of our experienced facilitators.”

Chief Inspector Martin Moizer, Criminal Justice, said: “Our priority will always be supporting a victim of crime. By working with our partners, it enables us to do all we can to assist those who have come to harm through crime. Restorative Justice is a proven process, which provides the opportunity for victims to ask questions and explain the impact that a crime may have had by bringing both victims and offenders into contact with each other in a safe and secure environment.

“Restorative Justice also helps to reduce the likelihood of re-offending and we want to continue to raise awareness that all victims are entitled to information about Restorative Justice regardless of the type of offence.

“We would actively encourage both victims and offenders to get in touch if they would like to find out more about what the service can offer.”

If you would like to find more about Restorative Justice in West Yorkshire visit www.rjwestyorkshire.org.uk or call 0800 78 31 550.

You can also get involved with one of the below events being run as part of Restorative Justice Week:

  • Thursday 25th November, 2pm to 3pm - Online session about Restorative Justice and Disability Hate Crime, in conjunction with United Response. To request a place email, Joanne.Silkstone@unitedresponse.org.uk.
  • Friday 26th November, 10am to 12pm - Drop in information session with Restorative Solutions at the New Wortley Community Centre, 40 Tong Rd, Armley, Leeds LS12 1LZ.
  • Friday 26th November 1.30pm to 2.30pm - Online introduction session to RJ for those interested in finding out more about the service. To register email rjwestyorkshire@restorativesolutions.org.uk.