Restorative Solutions launches its new service in West Yorkshire with the OPCC

The directors of Restorative Solutions CIC

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, launches the new RJ Service

The first ever county-wide restorative justice programme in West Yorkshire is being launched at Batley Town Hall on 11th October.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson has commissioned the new service from Restorative Solutions, investing £900,000 of funding over the next three years. The contract will build on existing work, which has supported victims and perpetrators to engage with each other.

The aim is to achieve positive steps in a victim's recovery and help to prevent further offending. Over 100 representatives from enforcement agencies and other key partners are coming together for the landmark event, including victims of crime who will give their personal testimony about their experience of engaging with the RJ process.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson said it is ground breaking work that will have a real impact:

"Although this scheme has previously been available in pockets within the county, this expansion to a West Yorkshire wide service represents a huge step forward. There is clear evidence of the difference this approach has made and I have worked extremely hard over recent years to reach this vision in conjunction with police and key partners. It is important that victims experience the same level of support wherever they live in the county and have the opportunity to have a role in the process in conjunction with the criminal justice system."

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable, Catherine Hankinson is attending today's event and said:

"Working with Restorative Solutions across West Yorkshire, we will seek to allow victims the chance to have a true voice within the criminal justice process. Restorative Justice has been shown to help reduce re-offending by making offenders understand the true harm they have caused. The practice is already used in some areas of England and Wales and ensures that victims, who are willing, are able to meet their offenders in order to explain the impact of the crime and to make offenders face up to their actions. It performs the vital function of empowering victims, their families, and communities to overcome the negative impact of potentially any crime type, the vast majority of victims who have taken part reporting a positive experience. We look forward to the new working relationship and the benefits the approach will bring to victims within West Yorkshire."

Gary Stephenson, Chief Executive, Restorative Solutions CIC added:

"Restorative Solutions welcomes the opportunity to deliver a Restorative Justice services across West Yorkshire with the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and West Yorkshire Police. The service is aimed at giving victims a voice and answering the many questions they may have after being a victim of a crime. The service will integrate and partner with other victim and offender services across West Yorkshire ensuring that victims of crime get a high quality and safe opportunity to have their say. Restorative Solutions are an experienced provider and have pioneered many initiatives using Restorative Justice over the last fifteen years."

The service was first developed in Bradford and is now available across West Yorkshire. Victims of crime in West Yorkshire can learn more by visiting www.rjwestyorkshire.org.uk, a website that Restorative Solutions has built as part of their work in promoting the service which is also being promoted across the area on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rjwes...

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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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