Restorative Justice Week - it's good to talk
Those of a certain generation will remember the famous Hollywood actor Bob Hoskins advertising BT products with the tagline: "it's good to talk."
That adage applies to many things in life - not just the sale of phones.
It also applies to the deep, often complex work of restorative justice - an alternative way of dealing with an offence by putting those harmed by crime or conflict - and those responsible for the harm - in contact with each other.
It's a way of giving victims a chance of healing their psychological wounds by literally facing the person that has done them damage and it can also reduce reoffending as often offenders realise the full impact of their actions and start their journey on the straight and narrow. It's a way forward for both.
This week we have been celebrating restorative justice across the globe and here in Wiltshire - a week highlighting how important this vital work is in the criminal justice system.
As part of that vision and as one of the Police and Crime Plan priorities - "putting victims, witnesses and communities at the heart of everything we do" - in 2016 I commissioned the Restorative Together service to support victims of crime in Wiltshire and Swindon.
Our dedicated staff and volunteers who help with the restorative justice process have dealt with more than 163 cases since the service started and are currently working on 11 active cases as I write this.
These valued volunteers work alongside front line officers and police staff, who are also trained in the restorative justice practice, as well as our partners to provide this award winning service - and I can say that because the team won the South West Region Volunteer Team of the year award in 2018.
In fact just this week we celebrated the role of the staff and volunteers involved in Restorative Together at a little gathering at police HQ.
It's important we recognise that without them, the officers and full time staff who help in this very important service there would be many more victims of crime who would not be able to find closure, move on from whatever happened to them or be able to put the past behind them so they can live a full life.
Here's proof, a quote from one victim of crime: "I got answers to the questions I really wanted answered, and it was good to hear things from his perspective. It was a good experience; the facilitators created a safe, controlled environment which helped settle my fears."
Equally, without Restorative Together there would be many more perpetrators, either serving time or not, who would be without the opportunity to meet their victims, try and make amends and, more importantly, change their lives for the better.
For more information about Restorative Together please visit Restorative Justice details
Published on Friday 22 November 2019.