Victims of crime across North Yorkshire will soon have the chance to challenge their perpetrators on their actions, as part of a new programme that has been shown to help victims and reduce reoffending.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, has announced a £270k contract to provide restorative justice services across the county over an 18-month period and is now inviting local and national organisations to bid to provide the service.
Under the new scheme, victims and offenders would be able to tell the offender about the harm they have caused and they can agree appropriate steps to repair the damage done, such as carrying out unpaid work in the community of being referred for treatment for a substance addiction.
A seven-year research project funded by the government showed that, where restorative justice meetings had taken place, reoffending reduced by 27%, equating to £9 saved for every £1 spent on restorative justice.
The majority of victims chose to participate in face-to-face meetings with the offender, when offered by a trained facilitator
85% of victims who took part were satisfied with the process
Restorative justice reduced the frequency of re-offending, leading to £9 savings for every £1 spent on restorative justice
Julia Mulligan said: Restorative justice is a little understood concept for many people, but in a recent survey I have conducted with the North Yorkshire public, 85% of those asked said that they agreed that convicted criminals should be made to explain their actions to their victims at the victim’s request. This right to challenge lies at the very heart of restorative justice and has been trialled with great success elsewhere in the country. Until now, the approach in North Yorkshire has been encouraging, but patchy.
This new money from the Ministry of Justice means we can now have a more comprehensive service across the whole county.
Restorative justice will give victims the chance to tell offenders about the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions, and receive a personal apology. Meeting and challenging the person who committed a crime against them can help recovery and help people to feel safe again. Indeed, when victims choose to meet the offender face to face, up to 85% say they are satisfied with the outcome.
As well as being effective in reducing reoffending, restorative justice also helps offenders understand the real impact of their actions, take responsibility for them and make amends.
Interested organisations have until 12pm on 9 July to submit a bid. Further information is available on the victims section of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website www.northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk