Restorative and Mediation Services still helping the people of Essex
Restorative and mediation services are available despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
Co-ordinators and volunteers who operate the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service are offering telephone, online and written mediation techniques.
The team, which is part of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Office, deal with around 500 cases each year.
Restorative justice brings the victims of a crime or conflict in contact with the perpetrators. The two sides can meet in person, although this is not currently available because of social distancing, or have some sort of written communication, which allows victims to ask questions and understand more about the offender and the incident they experienced. Often victims want to ask perpetrators questions such as, “Why me?” or “What drove you to do this?” and hearing the answers to their questions can be a key moment which helps them begin to find closure on the incident. In turn, it is shown to reduce reoffending as offenders are often shocked at the impact of their crime on the victim. Evidence shows many of them feel remorse for what they have done once they understand the true consequences of their actions.
It allows everyone involved an opportunity to repair the harm that has been caused and find a positive way forward.
Nikki Essex, Restorative and Mediation Services Manager, said: “Our priority is to continue delivering restorative services whilst ensuring this is done in the safest way possible for everyone involved. We are still open for referrals and are providing support to our service users in the most appropriate way. For the foreseeable future this will be either virtually or over the telephone. However, if people wish to speak face to face, referrals can still be made but will have to be put on hold until further notice to ensure there is no risk to all those involved.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “The skills of our team and volunteers can help people come together, especially now in these difficult times.
“Restorative justice can have a real impact on the welfare of victims, helping them to move forward.
“It’s vital we provide this in combination with the other support services we commission to give victims different ways of dealing with what has happened to them.”
To find out more go to https://www.restorativeessex.co.uk/
The team can be contacted via r[email protected] or by calling 01245 291 621 during office hours.
You can watch a short film about a successful restorative justice story here: https://youtu.be/aZpcGiXMI0o
(It was filmed in December last year.)