More restorative justice services for victims of crime

21/05/2015

Victims of crime in Brighton and Hove will now be able to access a range of restorative justice (RJ) services due to the recent opening of a specialist RJ hub in John Street Police Station.

The Brighton office is one of three multi-agency hubs to open across the county, staffed with RJ specialists from Sussex Police and Victim Support. The other two hubs are in Bexhill and Bognor Regis.

For some victims of crime the existing criminal justice process is sufficient whilst for others it leaves them feeling frustrated with many unanswered questions. The new RJ hubs will put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system by supporting them on their journey to recovery. This will often involve facilitating a safe and appropriate form of communication between victims of crime and offenders to allow victims get the closure they need in order to move on with their lives.

Commenting on the importance of the hubs for Sussex residents, John Willett, Strategic Restorative Justice Manager, Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, said: “It has been a huge challenge, not just setting up one multi-agency hub, but three, in three different locations, with several agencies involved.

“The hubs will give victims of crime greater access to RJ at all stages of the criminal justice system. They will also provide a physical space to allow practitioners to come together to focus resources and discuss what is best for the victim with minimum bureaucracy.

“Before the formation of the hubs, post-sentence RJ interventions were managed largely by e-mail between facilitators and agencies, which I believe stifled progress. The hubs now provide a quicker way of exchanging information with dedicated RJ practitioners working together both remotely and through co-location with the victim always at the heart of every decision.”

Luke Kendall, the new RJ Delivery Officer for Brighton said: “For the past two years I have been volunteering for Sussex Pathways, a charitable organisation delivering Restorative Justice and mentoring offenders. I find the process of helping victims move on with their lives very rewarding and there is the added bonus of RJ helping to reduce reoffending.

“The main focus of my work is delivering Restorative Justice Conferences, which all begins by dealing with referrals from partner organisations like Victim Support and Sussex Pathways. The service we provide gives the opportunity for victims of crime to, directly or indirectly, communicate with their offender. This enables them to obtain answers to unanswered questions, tell the offender about the harm that they have caused them and suggest appropriate actions for the offender to complete. For the offender it is an opportunity to come face to face with the impact of their crime and be an active agent in repairing some of the harm they have caused.’’

Kate Davies, Restorative Justice & Community Resolution Co-ordinator said: “Brighton Police Station is based at the heart of the communities we serve and will be a central point for both RJ practitioners and victims of crime who’ll be able to find out how RJ can help them.

“We have had a post-sentence RJ service for four years focusing on serious violent and acquisitive crimes. This will now be enhanced through the hub, whilst also allowing us to expand our RJ service for less serious crimes that have been dealt with out of court.”

If you are a victim of crime in Brighton & Hove and want to find out how RJ can help you then please contact the RJ hub by calling 101 Ext. 550318 or email Brighton_CR@sussex.pnn.police.uk

Find out more about RJ by visiting the Surrey and Sussex Criminal Justice Board website.

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