This week is International Restorative Justice week and Torbay Council’s restorative justice partnership project Make Amends is asking residents what they would like to say.
Between the 16 and 20 November 2015 Make Amends will be working with service users, partners and the community to raise awareness of restorative justice in support of International Restorative Justice week. With this year’s theme being “I’ve got something to say!” the focus will be on encouraging the public to think about what they would say if they were given an opportunity to have a restorative conversation.
Restorative justice creates opportunities for victims of crime to meet with those responsible in order to have their say, to get answers to their questions and to explain the effect the crime has had upon them, their family and the wider community. This voluntary process aims to help everyone move forward by giving victims a voice and by offenders finding a way in which they can make amends.
Councillor Robert Excell, Executive Lead for Community Services said: “Make Amends has been helping victims of crime to cope and recover from the effects of crime through the process of restorative justice with really positive results. Victims are saying that they feel empowered and really appreciate the opportunity to explain to the person responsible how the incident has affected them. Offenders too are saying that the restorative justice approach is life changing as they begin to understand the harm that their offending has caused’.
Justice Minister, Mike Penning, said: “Restorative justice gives victims a voice. It gives them the opportunity to face their offender, ask questions and take back control. Many victims of crime get to see sentences handed down in the courts, but it is not always enough to help them move on with their lives. We are dedicated to making sure restorative justice is available for every victim of crime who wants it, at all stages of the criminal justice system.”
During this year’s awareness raising week, Make Amends will be involved in a series of community events which will be giving offenders the opportunity to ‘put back’ by taking part in community reparation events. Monday will see service users making bird boxes and play equipment with In the Same Boat Community Interest Company, a local project who work creatively with veterans. The wooden creations, along with a day of practical reparation will be donated to the Woodend Project, which is a local community project in Torbay which supports disadvantaged young people. Other events during the week include community engagement, awareness raising and partnership working.
Being involved in restorative justice doesn’t mean that those who have caused the harm won’t’ be dealt with by existing justice systems. Restorative justice gives those harmed by events an opportunity to have a voice in a way which doesn’t always happen in formal proceedings. Positively it also increases victim satisfaction and has been shown to reduce re-offending.
Anyone wishing to access restorative justice locally can make a referral to Make Amends by calling 07826 903449, speaking directly to the Make Amends Project Manager on 01803 208036 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about Make Amends and restorative justice visit www.safercommunitiestorbay.org.uk/makeamends. To follow the awareness raising events follow Make Amends on Twitter at @makeamendsrj or makeamendsrj on Facebook.