Restorative Justice Week: West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner emphasises the importance of Restorative Justice as tool to help victims of crime.

From the 18th - 25th November, International Restorative Justice week is being held to raise awareness about the benefits of Restorative Justice, and how the process can be helpful for both victims and offenders. 

Restorative Justice works by bringing together people on both sides of a crime; the victim and the offender. This process can help victims to get closure following traumatic events, with the opportunity to tell the offender how their lives were impacted by the offender’s actions. It has a proven impact in supporting victims to achieve closure by allowing them to move on with their lives, with 85% of participating victims indicating that they would recommend it to others. The process also gives offenders an opportunity to face the consequences of their actions, and to recognise how their actions affected other people. 

Restorative Justice Week follows the recent launch of the first ever West Yorkshire-wide restorative justice programme. West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson has commissioned the service, provided by Restorative Solutions CIC, to invest £900,000 of funding for restorative justice over the next three years. Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “I made a commitment in my Police and Crime Plan to put victims and witnesses at the heart of the services that we provide.” 

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire PCC.

Discussing the importance of Restorative Justice, PCC Burns-Williamson said: “This international week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of these free services that can be really crucial in helping both the victim to recover and re-offending to reduce as a result of a restorative intervention. 
 
”I would urge any victims or witnesses that are over 18 years old, that feel like they could benefit from this approach to get in touch with Restorative Solutions CIC or my office directly to make best use of this service.” 

Restorative Solutions will be providing the restorative justice programme across West Yorkshire. Gary Stephenson, Chief Executive of Restorative Solutions CIC, said: “Restorative Solutions are committed to giving victims across West Yorkshire the opportunity to communicate with those who have caused them harm.” 

“We are working with a range of victim and offender organisations across West Yorkshire who have embraced the approach with enthusiasm and offers of support. Mark Burns Williamson the PCC for West Yorkshire and his team have worked hard to make this happen and shares our ambition of raising awareness of Restorative Justice and accessibility for all victims in West Yorkshire.” 

Restorative Justice allows communication to take place between victims and offenders in a safe and supportive environment. At Restorative Solutions, we have been working for over ten years to promote and advocate the benefits of Restorative Justice. We believe that participating in Restorative Justice is the best way to resolve conflict between both parties of any crime, as well as reducing the likelihood of offenders reoffending in the future. 
We are looking forward to International Restorative Justice Week as an opportunity to highlight the fantastic work that organisations such as Restorative Justice West Yorkshire are carrying out across the country. ACC Catherine Hankinson, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are a victim focussed Force and working with partners including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner we want to ensure victims have a true voice in the criminal justice process.

“Restorative justice helps to achieve that as it has been shown to help reduce re-offending as it can make offenders understand the true harm they have caused. Achieving this is a constant process but this national initiative helps to bring it into even sharper focus. We support this week as we support any initiative that helps promote the positives of restorative justice.”

During International Restorative Justice Week, the Restorative Justice Service will be raising awareness at the following venues across West Yorkshire: 
 
Bradford, Britannia House, Monday 19th November , 9am-11am
Huddersfield, Brian Jackson Centre, Monday 19th November, 10am-4pm
Bradford City Hall, Tuesday 20th November, 11am – 1pm
Leeds, University of Leeds, Tuesday 20th November, 12noon – 4pm
Wakefield, Victim Support Hub, Wednesday 21st November 10am – 4pm
Halifax, Customer First Hub, Thursday 22nd November 11am – 1pm

Victims of crime in West Yorkshire who would like to know more about the Restorative Justice service can visit www.rjwestyorkshire.org.uk or call 0800 783 1550 for more information.

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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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