Written evidence submitted by Remedi Restorative Justice Services (VIC0001)
Who we are:
Remedi are a registered charity that has facilitated Restorative Justice (RJ) across the adult and youth criminal justice systems in our areas of operation since 1996. We currently hold the contracts to provide RJ with 7 Police and Crime Commissioner areas, 9 Youth Justice Service areas and the National Homicide Service.
In the financial year 2021/2022 we facilitated 2841 Restorative Justice cases in the criminal justice arena.
Primary Reason for our evidence submission/What are we asking for?:
The current Victims’ Code of Practice references the need to offer Restorative Justice to victims of crime but is currently insufficiently robust in the requirements placed on statutory agencies to actually achieve this. RJ is insufficiently referenced as an almost ‘optional extra’ within wider Victim Services.
The Victims’ Bill provides an opportunity to address this more robustly. We are requesting that the Bill includes a specific clause that clearly states…
‘All Victims of crime have the right to have involvement with Restorative Justice explored with them by a trained professional’
This requirement should be placed as a statutory requirement for Police and Police/Crime Commissioners, Probation and Youth Justice Services.
We fully appreciate that there is a need for greater detail with regard to this suggested clause and would fully support consultation with the Restorative Justice Council to add this detail including : Definitions, minimum standards for delivery, evaluation and reporting standards etc.
The primary rationale for why we are requesting this amendment:
Evidence of Impact/Benefits of Restorative Justice:
Across the areas in which we work we have an average victim engagement rate of 78.7% : We proactively contact all identified victims of crime with an identified offender in the case to offer RJ. We can confidently state over 25 years of service delivery that the majority of victims wish to take part in RJ.
In the last year (21/22) we received full evaluations in 1237 cases. Victim responses:
99% of Victims expressed that they were SATISFIED with their involvement
97% of Victims expressed that RJ had directly helped them to COPE and/or RECOVER from the offence
96% of Victims expressed that RJ had directly INCREASED their FEELINGS/SENSE of SAFETY
94% of Victims expressed that RJ had directly REDUCED their FEELINGS/SENSE of FEAR
96% of Victims expressed that RJ had directly improved their HEALTH and/or their sense of WELLBEING
90% of Victims expressed that RJ had directly INCREASED their overall SATISFACTION with the wider criminal justice system.
98% of Victims expressed that they would recommend RJ to other victims of crime.
We can provide literally hundreds of victim testimonial statements if required- please see our Twitter feed for examples @RemediRj
Potential Impacts of not specifically including RJ in the Bill:
It is vital that RJ be more robustly required both as a clause of the Victims’ Bill and as a requirement for the inspectorate services moving forward.
There is much to commend in the Bill and we are fully supportive of all other aspects therein but RJ has been forgotten or overlooked and that is a tragedy given the massively positive impacts it can have for victims of crime.
Restorative Justice is victim focused, empowers victims, gives victims a voice and has significant benefits for them- It is therefore patently clear that it must be included in any Bill protecting victims’ rights. Why wouldn’t it be?