Victims of crime will be supported by £45,000 of funding designed to help them move forward by meeting their offenders and repair the harm caused by their experiences, Justice Minister Mike Penning has announced.
Three organisations will share the funds, which are part of the almost £30 million being provided to give victims access to restorative justice (RJ) throughout England and Wales up to 2016. Through RJ victims can meet their offenders and have an opportunity to be heard, get answers to questions, which can help them move on.
London-based organisations Why Me? and the Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS), as well as RJ Working, based in Cornwall , will each receive £15,000 to raise awareness and increase understanding of RJ.
Announcing the funding during International RJ Week, Victims and Criminal Justice Minister Mike Penning said:
Many victims of crime get to see sentences handed down in the courts, but it’s not always enough to help them move on with their lives. RJ gives victims the opportunity to look offenders in the eye and explain to them the real impact the crime has had on them.
The process also provides a chance for offenders to face the consequences of their actions. RJ is not a soft option or a replacement for prosecution and convicted offenders will be sentenced in the normal way.
We are committed to making sure that good quality RJ is victim-focused and we know that it can have an extremely positive impact on victim satisfaction and reoffending. This funding will help to further highlight the benefits of the process to victims.
RJ processes bring those harmed by crime or conflict together with those responsible, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in finding a positive way forward. Victims can meet their offenders and have an opportunity to be heard and get answers to questions, which can help them move on.
Ministry of Justice (MOJ) research of a number of RJ pilots found that 85% of victims who took part in RJ were satisfied with the experience. It also found the process was associated with an estimated 14% reduction in the frequency of reoffending.
The 3 organisations will spend the money on promoting RJ to victims of crime.
Notes to editors
In 2013, MOJ announced that at least £29 million was being made available to Police and Crime Commissioners and charities to help deliver RJ for victims up to 2016.
The MOJ is supporting International RJ Week with a campaign called ‘What would you do?’, which encourages people to think about whether they would meet somebody who’d committed a crime against them. To find out more, watch our video and visit our campaign page.