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Rape victim who met her attacker tells how restorative justice helped her get her life back

24 November, 2017

A female rape victim who met her attacker through a restorative justice programme in Lancashire has told how the process helped her move on with her life.

Speaking anonymously to a conference of police and criminal justice professionals, hosted by Lancashire police and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, she said that meeting her attacker had been crucial to her recovery.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, praised the victim’s courage in speaking out as he opened the conference which highlighted the services available and how it can help people in complex cases.

Speaking at the event Clive Grunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said: “Restorative Justice can be a really important process giving victims a chance to get answers following a crime and often giving them a way to move on with their lives. The team at Lancashire police and Lancashire Victim Services can offer the advice and support people need to take this difficult but often important step.

“The process can also give offenders the chance to face up to what they have done, understand how their crimes have affected people and reform as a result. What we have heard at today’s conference and other events throughout Restorative Justice Week is how it has stopped career criminals from offending again and everyone benefits in those situations.

“I am confident this is a positive step towards making our communities better, safer places to live, and to giving victims of crime and anti-social behavior a real voice. I will continue to support the work of our officers in Lancashire in delivering this important service and helping other victims get the justice and answers they seek.”

One speaker at the conference was a victim of a serious sexual assault who met her attacker through the restorative justice programme.

She said: “I realised after the trial, where he had pleaded guilty, that I wanted to try and find out whether there was a way I could meet him, I wasn’t aware of restorative justice at the time but had questions that I knew only he could answer.

“Meeting him was crucial in my recovery, hearing him say sorry to me face to face – every time I got an answer to the questions I felt relief, and a lot of fear and anxiety that I had carried with me, that I did not fully realise I had, lifted.

“I would encourage others to look for help through restorative justice, it has a really powerful effect on your life even knowing that there is an option to utilise it as part of the healing process and I hope that more will be able to access it and increasing awareness about it is such an important thing.”

Helena Cryer, Restorative Justice Manager at Lancashire Constabulary said: “The interest we had for this event from professionals involved in the delivery of Restorative Justice across Lancashire really does speak volumes. Restorative Justice is becoming more recognised as a way of giving victims a voice, allowing them to find the closure they need to move on from being labelled as a victim of crime.

“As a team we will continue to grow and develop the service we offer to ensure all victims are being offered Restorative Justice”

Lancashire’s Restorative Justice team received a special mention in this year’s Howard League Community Awards under the RJ category and were praised for the services and awareness raised around restorative approaches across Lancashire.

Restorative Justice is being used for a wide range of incidents and crimes from low level anti-social behaviour to more serious and complex cases. A Lancashire victim of rape agreed to share her experience of Restorative Justice during International Restorative Justice Week 2017, this was following her positive experience of the process and after meeting with the offender.

If you would like further information about restorative justice, please make contact by sending an email to the Restorative Justice mailbox RJAdmin@lancashire.pnn.police.uk or calling 01772 412545

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