Learning to forgive after dreams were shattered

The dream of a place at the Rio Olympics is for sports people the pinnacle of their career, but imagine having that aspiration shattered by a horrific car accident.  That is what happened to Kate Hunter from Lincolnshire after the car she was travelling in was hit by a dangerous driver, which left her with life changing injuries.

In November 2015, nearly two years after the accident, Kate was able to forgive the man who was driving the car, after she took part in a Restorative Justice programme, run by Restorative Solutions.  Through the service, commissioned by the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, facilitators were able to work with Kate and support her to meet the offender.

Suzanne McLardy, was the facilitator, she explained how she was able to support Kate.

“Kate really wanted the opportunity to meet Adam who was the driver of the car responsible for the accident. We had a number of meetings where I explained how the Restorative Justice process works and when she was ready, I arranged for Kate to meet Adam at HMP North Sea Camp. The meeting enabled Kate to express her feelings and address the anxieties she had”.

Kate Hunter’s mother Sue explains how the process has helped her daughter

“In the days that followed the court case she really struggled and expressed a wish to be able to write and/or meet with the perpetrator.   I contacted the Restorative Justice Team at Lincoln who were really lovely and arranged to come to our home and discuss the process. Over the weeks that followed we had a number of meetings where the procedures were explained to us in great detail ensuring that my daughter was made aware of every eventuality in the process. This was done with kindness, empathy and compassion and made us feel very secure

Without the Restorative Justice system, this negative would never have become a positive and I believe it is vital people understand how important this system is and how it can help people move forward and give them peace of mind”.

As well as working with Kate, Suzanne also met with the Adam the driver of the car who also expressed a wish to take part in Restorative Justice. Once Kate felt comfortable to meet Adam, Suzanne arranged for the two to meet at HMP North Sea Camp prison.

Adam explains how it felt about the Restorative Justice Process.

“The Restorative Justice team made everything easy and were sensitive to everyone’s feelings. Having gone through the process, it was the first time I felt I could move forward with my life and stop beating myself up for being responsible for the accident. Getting the opportunity to say sorry meant everything to me”.

Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, said:

 “I was truly inspired by these two people.  The restorative justice approach is a really effective way for victims to gain back some control.  I’ve seen the work the RJ team undertake, they work really hard to ensure victim’s feel empowered after they have been subject to a crime.  My best wishes go to Kate and Adam for a positive future.”

Restorative Lincolnshire is available to all victims of crime who live in the county, for more information, please contact Suzanne McLardy on 01522 947084

END

For more information contact Neill Young Marketing and Communications Manager on 07989 570388 or email neillyoung@restorativesolutions.org.uk

Notes to Editor

About Restorative Solutions

Restorative Solutions CIC is the leading provider of Restorative Justice and wider Restorative Approaches in England and Wales.  Established in 2004 as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), we are committed to embedding restorative approaches across all communities, through delivering innovative programmes and delivering effective and quality training and services to achieve the best possible outcomes for victims and support offenders in their rehabilitation.

Currently we are working with 15 Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales to develop and deliver bespoke Restorative Justice support.  Restorative Solutions also work with other organisations, including, the NHS, Local Education Authorities, Children Services and Housing Associations to resolve conflict, address and challenge unacceptable behaviour and develop emotional literacy by using restorative approaches.

 

About Restorative Justice Lincolnshire

The Restorative Justice Lincolnshire programme is a partnership with the Lincolnshire Office of the  Police and Crime Commissioner Lincolnshire Police to support people affected by crime, conflict and anti-social behaviour through restorative practices.

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What people say about Restorative Solutions

I'm so glad I am working with RJ. I don't know who would listen to me if it wasn’t for you.
A Person Harmed by Crime
RJ is very underrated and I certainly think we should be using it more.
A Professional who Referred Someone into our Service
Very satisfied – it’s been a great service. A worthwhile process for me and I hope for the offenders. Staff have been great and I would like to thank them.
A victim
It was the right thing to do. Both victims told me to let go of what happened. I didn't want to hear it but they both forgave me and said I should move on. I have taken that on and thought about it and I have come to terms with what happened. You've helped me significantly. It's as though my head has been lifted of a gigantic weight.
An Offender
Thanks for your time today. I feel like you understand R so well, I really hope you can help him to learn how to be happy.
Feedback from a family in East Kent
Restorative Justice offers a unique opportunity for victims and survivors to move on from and overcome the trauma that can be left with them after experiencing crime. I am exceedingly proud of the work that the team at Restorative Solutions do in supporting our community. We should always consider the needs of victims of crime and this service exemplifies that sentiment and allows so many to put behind them what can be the worst experience of their lives.
Marc Jones, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

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