Do you want to help deliver Restorative Justice to victims?
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Essex is currently recruiting volunteers to be part of our exciting new pilot project which allows victims of crime to confront their perpetrators.
The volunteers would form part of the new Restorative Justice Hub which has been created by PCC Nick Alston as part of national plans to provide enhanced support to victims of crime and deliver community-based solutions.
Restorative justice is a process which gives victims, involved in a crime or conflict, the opportunity to meet or communicate with those who have offended against them – in a safe way.
Once victims are referred to take part in the process they are given the chance to explain to a criminal the impact a crime has had on them, ask questions of the offender and seek an apology. It enables offenders to be held to account for what they have done but also take responsibility for the harm they have caused. If a face to face meeting is not appropriate they can do so indirectly via letters or messages.
The Restorative Justice hub is made up of agencies across Essex who work to support victims of crime, reduce offending and support communities. The project is currently being piloted across West Essex (including the districts of Brentwood, Epping Forest, Harlow and Thurrock).
Volunteers for the project must be over the age of 18 and will be expected to meet with victims and offenders living across West Essex. They will also be given the opportunity to offer their feedback on the project, which is expected to roll out to the rest of Essex from October 2015.
Emma Callaghan, Restorative Justice Development Manager at the OPCC, said:
“Since going live, the Essex Restorative Justice hub has been gathering momentum. We have seen an increase in referrals from our partner organisations, particularly in those requested by the victim. Those victims of crime and anti-social behaviour we have been in contact with have been enthusiastic about the process and encouraged by the opportunity to be included in the justice system. Victims can now ask for meaningful reparation, and feel able to address problems with neighbours which, in some cases, have been going on for years.”
Supt Trevor Roe of Essex Police said: “Restorative Justice is not a new concept, but the philosophy is now being developed across Essex into a new innovative enhanced intervention provision.
“The new Restorative Justice Hub has the ability to assess the level of offending behaviour, determine the most appropriate intrusive rehabilitative intervention and access a variety of provision across a number of strategic partners. The partnerships across Essex have signed up to provide challenging and meaningful interventions, completely independent from the police environment. This has been achieved through the support of the Office of the PCC, which has freed up officer time, brought independence to the intervention process which encourages offender engagement and provides a wide range of options to deliver the very best tailored response.”
Emma Callaghan added: “We now need more volunteers to enable us to expand the project further, reaching out to more areas of Essex and taking on more cases.
“The feedback that we have had from our volunteers so far is that the role is an incredibly rewarding one, allowing them to develop and use new skills, and be part of a process which seeks to heal the harm caused by offending.”
Since the hub was launched by the OPCC at the end of March, seven volunteers have been recruited, with five now actively working and two waiting to be trained.
The hub has now also had nine referrals from partners for victims wanting to take part.
People interested in the volunteer role can visit the vacancies page on the PCC website here.
Or contact by email: [email protected]
Or call Emma Callaghan on 01245 291609
A leaflet explaining Restorative Justice and details of the Essex Restorative Justice hub can be accessed at the links below: