What’s in it for ME?
Restorative Justice can bring those harmed by crime, and those responsible for the harm, into communication in a controlled and safe manner. It gives everyone affected an opportunity to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a way forward. It allows you to have your say, get answers to your questions and communicate with the offender in a way that suits you…
This could be done by meeting in person, by writing to one another, or by relaying messages through an impartial facilitator.
A crime against you can leave you with a variety of feelings and unanswered questions such as ‘Why did this happen to me?’, ‘Was I targeted?’ etc. The crime will have an affect your life, your employment, your family, your relationships, your children and your confidence. You may be able to recognise the difference in how your life was, and how it is afterwards. People report feeling alone, insignificant and unsupported to deal with the consequences of what has happened to you.
Restorative Justice has high satisfaction rates among victims who participate (94%), so it’s not surprising that more people are choosing to take advantage of this opportunity. Among the many healing effects of Restorative Justice, victims report:
- feeling empowered
- feeling part of the process
- feeling listened to and acknowledged
- having their peace of mind restored
- regaining their confidence and self-esteem
- finding closure and the strength to move on
When can I do this?
Restorative Justice can take place at any point in your journey and when you feel you may benefit the most. It can take place at any stage of the criminal justice process and beyond, so if the right time is months or years after a conviction, we will do our best to arrange this for you.
If the crime is going to Court, (and the offender pleads guilty) you could be asked if you would like to take part before the sentencing hearing. There will be no impact on the sentence, but it does give a further chance to have your voice heard in the court.
How does it work?
A trained facilitator will arrange to visit you to talk about the crime and its impact on you and others around you, and what could be done to make things better for you. They will aim to understand your wishes and priorities, run through the options available, and check which one feels right for you. Taking part is entirely voluntary, and you are free to withdraw at any time.
If you do decide to take part, your facilitator will support you throughout the whole process.. During this time, they will also begin visiting the offender to determine their willingness to be involved. With your permission, they will open the channels of communication by relaying messages between you. Then, when you’re both ready, they will deliver that carefully structured conversation in whichever format you have decided.
It’s your call…
Remember… Restorative Justice can take place at any time in your journey of recovery and you should never feel pressured into doing it. When you’re ready or would simply like more information, give us a call or email using the details below.
Telephone: 0191 300 8460
- Download the information leaflet for additional information
- RJ SERVICE Leaflet v3 (Jan20) (002)
- PRE-SENTENCE RJ – Information for Victims – Court Leaflet (v2) (002)
If you would like other support and advice following a crime, victims and their families throughout County Durham, Darlington and Cleveland can contact the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS).
You can contact them directly on Tel: 0303 0401099 or visit their website VCAS Website, or speak to the Hub officer who is dealing with your case who will be happy to support.