What is restorative justice?
Would you want to meet the offender who attacked you if you became a victim of crime? Or speak to the person who burgled your house, and ask them why?
Restorative Justice provides an opportunity to do that by giving the victim the chance to meet face-to-face with the person who committed the offence and to talk to them about what they did.
The victim can ask them why they were targeted, and tell them about the impact their actions have had on their life. And it also gives the offender a chance to explain why they behaved like they did – which can help victims put the crime behind them and move on with their lives.
For more information about restorative justice, you can visit the Lancashire Victim Services website. Alternatively, you can email RJAdmin@Lancashire.pnn.police.uk or call 01257 246318.
A Victim's guide to restorative justice
Case study: Neighbour Dispute
The Restorative Justice panel was called upon because of an argument between two neighbours, which resulted in one man – Mr B – visiting his neighbour Mr S’s house and making threats with a pick-axe handle.
Mr B claimed he had had enough of loud music and disrespect from Mr S, while Mr S said his neighbour had made threats to kill him during an argument. Although the police were initially involved, they made a decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation because it was felt this would make the situation between the neighbours – who were normally law-abiding citizens – worse.
Instead, it was decided that some form of Restorative Justice would work best for both parties in the long-run as neither had any previous dealings with the police in relation to violent offences.
Each of the couples met with the Restorative Justice panel members separately, and then agreed to come together for a meeting. The build up of bitterness, resentment and anger between the couples had been going on for around six months, but during the meeting they managed to move toward a point of understanding and agreement.
Both neighbours were extremely interested in the role of the panel, and pleased the issue had managed to be moved forward satisfactorily without further police involvement.
In the news
Burglar and victim come face to face at restorative justice conference
A burglary victim who lost over £30,000 worth of valuables has told how meeting the burglar, Lee Jones, face to face led him to offer support, helping the offender to turn his life around.
Richard Quinn who lived in Darwen at the time of the burglary is speaking out to highlight the benefits of victim and offender conferences as part of Restorative Justice Week (21-27 November).
Two years after the offence Richard received a phone call….read more
Case study: Longstanding dispute
A Restorative Justice conference was held to resolve a long-standing dispute between two farmers, who shared use of an access road to both their properties.
Despite the conference getting heated at times, the facilitators got both men to agree to work together to improve access to their homes, and secured a further positive outcome in that both farmers were enjoying friendly conversation with each other by the time the conference finished.
However, after this successful conference one of the men phoned the community RJ panel to say the other farmer’s dog was still chasing his sheep in the fields and, as it was lambing season, was causing them considerable distress.
That issue had been discussed at the conference and the farmer had agreed to keep his dog secure, but it wasn’t part of the final written agreement. As a result, the conference facilitator decided to contact the other farmer direct – as the complainant didn’t want to involve the police again – and this resulted in an apology and promises to keep the dog secure. Both parties are now happy as a result of the Restorative Justice process.
Case study: Parking issues
A local Neighbourhood Policing Team contacted the Restorative Justice panel because of an issue around parking at a school.
There were eight or nine people falling out over the issue, and there was also a problem with someone from the school filming the situation on a mobile phone, and consequently the Neighbourhood Policing Team believed the situation had the potential to escalate.
A member of the panel met with each of the parties individually to find out more about the issues, and was subsequently able to diffuse the situation without the parties needing to come together. As a result of the panel’s intervention certain concessions were made by those involved, and all concerned were happy with the outcome.