Cleveland victims of crime reminded about Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice Week began yesterday, Monday 20th November and Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger and Cleveland Police are highlighting how restorative justice can help victims cope and recover following a crime.

The aim of this week is to raise awareness of restorative justice (RJ) amongst the public, specifically how it can empower victims by giving them a voice and helping them to move forward with their lives. 

Restorative justice is the communication between someone who has been a victim of crime or antisocial behaviour and the person who has harmed them. This interaction can be in the form of a meeting between both parties, via a letter or by messages and questions passed through a trained Restorative Justice Facilitator.

Restorative justice in Cleveland is delivered by Restorative Cleveland, a team of five experienced facilitators who are specially trained to support victims through the entire RJ process. The team are funded by the PCC, as part of his Police and Crime Plan pledge to get a better deal for victims.

Earlier this year, the PCC’s commitment to restorative justice was recognised in a national report by Why Me! for spending the second highest proportion of victim funding on restorative justice in the country.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger said: “Restorative justice is a process I have always been supportive of and committed to. I’m passionate about allowing Restorative Cleveland to develop, as it’s such an important and useful tool which helps victims move forward with their lives, and allows offenders to better understand the impact of their crimes on local communities.

“I believe that anyone who has been a victim of crime in Cleveland should have access to high quality support and working with partners, I’m confident RJ will continue to make a real difference to victims in our area.”

Restorative Justice Co-Ordinator Danielle Gibson said: “Many people aren’t aware of the restorative justice process. It is such an important system which empowers victims to enable them to seek answers from offenders, which then helps them to move forward with their life.

“This week is an excellent opportunity to ensure that victims in Cleveland are aware of restorative justice. Anyone who has been a victim of crime can access this service and we would encourage anyone who feels that it may assist them to contact our team.”

Restorative Cleveland also works with the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS), which provides a free, independent and confidential service to help victims cope with the immediate impact of crime and subsequently make a full recovery, to offer restorative justice to all victims of crime.

The Restorative Cleveland Team is currently working towards a Restorative Justice Council’s Restorative Service Quality Mark - a nationally recognised award to ensure a professional quality of service.

For further information regarding restorative justice, please visit www.restorativecleveland.co.uk or call 01642 301209.


Case Study 1 – Police using RJ with juveniles

Police received a call from a nursery as there had been a theft and damage had been caused. The doorbell to the property had been damaged and the offenders had climbed onto the roof and into the back of the property, stealing several lats of wood.

The owner of the nursery recognised two of the boys, however the third male wasn’t known. The young people were sighted on CCTV and the third boy was identified.

All three young boys were aged 11/12 years. They were visited at their home addresses by the police officer investigating the crime and spoken to with appropriate adults present. All three admitted their part in the offences and were sorry for what they had done. They had now realised the seriousness of their actions.

The victim was consulted, and because she knew the young people and didn’t want to criminalise them, she was happy to deal with this incident out of court by way of restorative justice. All three boys wrote letters to the victim to apologise for their actions. The letters were hand delivered by the boys, whereby they also gave an explanation and a face-to-face apology. They also reimbursed the nursery for the wood that was stolen and agreed to a curfew for a month.

The victim was happy with the outcome of the incident, and the young people have not reoffended since.