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Scheme to let victims request meetings with offenders trialled

Jul 11, 2013

from the article from BBC News:

Victims of crime in the Thames Valley have become the first in England to be able to ask for face to face meetings with their offenders.

Until now, restorative justice has started with offenders being selected and then their victims being contacted for a possible meeting.

A new EU-funded trial set up in March is now seeing victims offered the chance to initiate a meeting.

The first cases are now under way and the trial will run until December 2014.

If it is successful, the scheme could be rolled out across the country.

Geoff Emerson, restorative justice manager for Thames Valley Probation, said the service was working with the Victim Support charity on the project.

"The government wants to be able to offer RJ (restorative justice) to victims at different points in the criminal justice system, but this is a way of enabling volunteers to come forward saying that it's something they want to do," he said.

"Up to now we've not been able to do that, we've not had the funds to do that.

"This is a way of getting to see what the take-up rate will be."

He said about 33% of victims offered the service so far had chosen to have a face to face meeting, while about 50% had chosen indirect contact, for example through a letter.

"The evidence, which shows where victims get really good benefits, come from offences of burglary or violence and public order offences, but more importantly it's where a person has been more personally affected," Mr Emerson added.

"It's enabling the person affected to have their say and it puts them into a position of some degree of power, it empowers them to change things and move on."

Read the full article.

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Lisa Rea
Lisa Rea says:
Jul 11, 2013 04:36 PM

Thank you for posting this development. RJI strongly supports this effort in the UK and applauds the Ministry of Justice for it. Restorative justice should be available to all victims of crime who choose to participate in it. That is why we support a "victims right to restorative justice," a concept we are advocating for in the U.S. and globally. Victims-centered and victims-driven restorative justice has the potential to impact our broken justice systems around the world. Restorative justice allows victims to heal, as much as possible, and urges offender accountability in ways that allow true transformation of the offender. Recidivism rates drop, victims satisfaction is increased and communities are safer.

Lisa Rea, President
Restorative Justice International (RJI)

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