A family is sharing their journey to finding closure following a burglary at their home in Sussex.
Zoe and Andrew met Ollie, one of the offenders who burgled their home, as part of the restorative justice system.
The film of their meeting has been released during International Restorative Justice Week, which sees criminal justice agencies across the world come together to raise awareness of restorative justice (RJ) and its positive outcomes on those affected by crime.
In the UK, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has made a commitment to develop access to RJ at every stage of the criminal justice process. Its Restorative Justice Strategy has made £29 million available nationally to Police and Crime Commissioners and charities to help deliver RJ for victims of crime over three years.
Locally, the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership (SRJP) has been established to bring together statutory, voluntary and third sector organisations who deliver RJ services to improve capacity and capabilities.
Strategic RJ Manager John Willett has been appointed by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner to lead this programme of work across the county.
He said: “RJ brings victims, offenders and those affected by crime into communication to help repair the harm that’s been caused. RJ can take many forms.
“A victim may not want to meet their offender face to face and we ensure that whatever means of communication they choose is safe for them and does not lead to re-victimisation.
“We provide a planned, considered and professional service that puts victims in the driving seat.
“For some people the existing criminal justice process can leave them with unanswered questions and RJ provides them with an opportunity to fill that gap.”
Find out more about the RJ process and what it involves for participants here.
Victims of crime in Sussex can access a range of RJ services from three specialist RJ hubs in Brighton, Bexhill and Bognor, staffed by RJ specialists from Sussex Police and Victim Support.
The hubs provide a contact point for members of the public who have any queries relating to RJ and 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.
An infographic highlighting RJ referrals and outcomes in Sussex can be downloaded here.
For more information about the availability of RJ services in Sussex visit www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/restorative-justice.
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