Victims, families, young people, and even offenders continue to benefit from a specialist service in Wiltshire which facilitates healthy conversations between those who have been harmed and the harmer.
Restorative justice brings those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication. It offers victims of crime a level of resolution and possible closure and can help the harmer to recognise and understand how their behaviour affects others. Repairing harm and finding a positive way forward. This is part of restorative practice.
Restorative Justice Week 2021 offers a great opportunity to reflect on the excellent work that is happening throughout the county and whilst restorative practice is most commonly associated with the criminal justice system, it is increasingly being used in schools, children’s services, workplaces, hospitals and communities.
For the past five years the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has funded Restorative Together which acts as the lead provider for restorative practice across Wiltshire.
Julia Gay Restorative Justice Lead for Wiltshire Police said: “Restorative Justice plays an important role within our Criminal Justice System.
“Finding closure and a way forward after a crime or incident is individual to each person who has experienced harm. Restorative Justice offers an individual approach and opportunity, giving victims the chance to ask the questions and find the answers that matters most to them.
“Restorative Justice in Wiltshire is made possible with a brilliant team of staff and volunteer facilitators. These trained volunteers give up their free time to guide and support victims and perpetrators through the process, and I cannot thank them enough for all they do.
“We are also supported by a network of partners who work alongside us every day as part of the referral process, raising awareness of restorative justice and Restorative Together, ensuring our communities are aware of the opportunities available.”
Both victims and perpetrators of crime can be referred to the service where trained facilitators will work with them to communicate directly or indirectly – by letter, shuttle communication or face to face.
PCC Philip Wilkinson added: “It is only by looking at the full picture of crime that we can start to address the causes, ultimately I want to get to a point where there is less crime and fewer victims.
“By facilitating difficult conversations between victims and offenders, Restorative Together is enabling victims to move forwards with their lives following harm and helps rehabilitate offenders by making them face the effects of their actions head on and has been proven to reduce reoffending by 14%.”
For more information about Restorative Together including the referral process visit https://www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk/Horizon/restorative-justice/