Restorative Justice Week 2020
This week, we are supporting Restorative Justice Week and will be highlighting our Essex Restorative and Mediation Service that supports victims of crime in Essex.
The Essex Restorative and Mediation Service works with people who have been involved in conflict, including criminal offences and we use restorative processes to communicate between people who have been harmed, and have caused harm, to allow them to work towards positive outcomes in a safe environment. Our service is impartial and will work to achieve a positive way forward for everyone involved.
As well as being very experienced with working with criminal behaviour, we also work with anti-social behaviour and even arrange meetings involving entire communities where issues are affecting them.
This week, we will be focusing on what restorative justice is and will introduce some of our team who work with victims and offenders in Essex. Our staff oversee the running of the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service, including supporting and recruiting our facilitators, liaising with service users and other organisations, arranging mediation / RJ conferences and delivering training. They are all experienced, accredited RJ and mediation practitioners.
The team consists of a service delivery manager, two RJ co-ordinators, an RJ administrator, and a support staff member. We also have 42 Restorative and Mediation Service facilitators who volunteer their time to support victims of crime in Essex.
We will be sharing case studies from people who have used our restorative justice services to give an insight into the process and how it can be used alongside the criminal justice system.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “This week, we’re highlighting the restorative justice services available to Essex residents.
“Restorative Justice can be effective in showing the responsible person the real impact of their actions by putting a face to their crime. It also gives the victim and their families the chance to tell the offender how they feel about what has happened, ask for an apology and get answers to their questions.
“It can be used alongside the criminal justice system and can be really powerful for both victims and perpetrators.”
Nikki Essex, Restorative and Mediation Service Manager said: “This week is a national opportunity to reflect on the progress made in restorative justice in the last year and to look forward to what’s coming up.
“Restorative justice is a process which brings offenders and victims into some form of communication, allowing victims to ask question, discuss the impact of the crime and get some form of closure. It also allows offenders to understand the harm that’s been caused and make amends, which has been proven to reduce re-offending.
“Despite lock down the service has been busy, managing 223 referrals since January, of which 48 have resulted in a final positive outcome so far.
“One of the focuses for the week is domestic abuse and this is a great opportunity to tie in RJ and domestic abuse and how beneficial it can be to give victims a voice. We know from our colleagues that nationally since lockdown, RJ cases for DA have increased by 150% across the UK.”
Find out more about the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service at www.restorativeessex.co.uk
Here’s a video message from Nikki Essex:
Stephen Hawkins is one of our volunteer Restorative Justice Facilitators who gives his time to help victims of crime in Essex alongside 41 volunteers at the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service.
He was crowned this year’s Volunteer of the Year at Essex Police’s awards ceremony for his part in adapting to new ways of working to help victims of crime during the national lockdown. Through phone calls and video conferencing, Stephen has been able to facilitate 14 restorative justice cases since the lockdown.
In this video he talks about his role:
If you would like to volunteer with the Essex Restorative and Mediation Service, visit: https://www.restorativeessex.co.uk/volunteer/