What is restorative justice?
Restorative justice is about giving those affected by a crime, such as victims, offenders and the wider community, an opportunity to communicate about the harm that has been done and consider how it can be repaired.
Restorative justice could include a facilitated meeting between the victim and offender or a letter of apology from an offender. It can transform the way in which the needs of the victim are met and can also enable offenders to face the consequences of their actions.
There is some excellent work underway in Surrey which includes a ‘restorative’ element. The Commissioner actively supports restorative justice in Surrey through her Victim’s Fund and Reducing Reoffending Fund.
What is Surrey’s Restorative Justice Hub?
At the heart of restorative justice is acknowledging the importance of assisting victims (and others) to try and move forward in the aftermath of a crime. However, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. For this reason, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner has set up a Restorative Justice Hub. The hub provides victims with a point of contact to access support and information.
In suitable cases, and where people want to proceed with a restorative process, the hub can make sure that cases are allocated to professionally trained Restorative Justice Facilitators.
The hub operates as a partnership between all the key criminal justice agencies including Surrey Police, victim support services, the National Probation Service, prisons and courts.
What are the benefits of engaging in restorative justice?
Telling another person about how their actions have affected you is immensely powerful – they have nowhere to hide and very few excuses. Instead, they are held to account for what they have done and face some very difficult questions.
Importantly, when a person takes full responsibility for their crime and expresses remorse, restorative justice gives them the chance to put things right. This is a key opportunity for them to make meaningful changes to their behaviour and move towards a more positive future, free from offending.
For more information on restorative justice, visit the Restorative Justice Council website here.
If you are interested in learning more about the Surrey Restorative Justice hub and how we may be able to work with you, please contact us.
Email us here.