VICTIMS of crime in Greater Manchester have shared their experiences of restorative justice and how it has benefited them.
Following the launch of the Greater Manchester Restorative Justice Service – which aims to bring victims of crime in contact with offenders – in summer 2019, more than 100 people have so far been supported across the city-region.
The service is commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police and other agencies across Greater Manchester, and is delivered by Remedi – a specialist restorative justice charity providing a one-stop shop for all things restorative justice.
As part of this year’s Restorative Justice Week, victims of crime who have benefited from the Greater Manchester Restorative Justice Service have met with the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester Police and representatives from Remedi.
During the meeting on November, 18, three victims of crime – Paula Robinson, Nick Ringland and Tony Wright – shared their experiences of how restorative justice worked for them.
Paula is part of a church in Reddish, which was broken into last year – resulting in a window being broken and gifts for the Christmas raffle stolen.
Paula said: “Following the break in at the church we heard that the ‘invader’ had been arrested by the police. The incident was an ‘eye opener’ and impacted different members of the church in different ways.
“Remedi got in touch and asked if I would like to speak with the offender, and on behalf of the parish I accepted. Restorative justice has helped us all to process what happened and move on with our lives.”
Nick Ringland is a paramedic with North West Ambulance Service and he was assaulted while dealing with an incident. The man who assaulted Nick was arrested by police.
Nick said: “As I went on my restorative justice journey it felt rewarding to meet the offender and hear his story – this helped me to understand what happened and why. It also gave me the opportunity to explain the knock on effect of this kind of assault.”
Tony Wright was assaulted by a group of youths while he was walking along the canal into Manchester City Centre. The group attempted to take Tony’s phone and wallet, with threats made to cause him harm.
Tony said: “At first I was a bit sceptical of restorative justice as wasn’t sure it would work but decided to go ahead. I met my offenders and their parents and explained how the incident made me feel and why I had opted to follow the restorative justice option.
“The responses received during the meeting were sincere and a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am so glad things have ended the way they have – we are all better off for the restorative justice experience.”
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes said: “Thank you all for coming along today and for your investment made in the restorative justice process. It’s great to hear that you all benefited from restorative justice, and that’s important to me as I need to know that the process works.
“We know that when used in the right way, restorative justice can be very effective. It is a powerful process in which criminals face up to what they’ve done and gives victims the closure they need.
“Since launching the Greater Manchester Restorative Justice Service has already helped more than 100 victims of crime while ensuring a consistent offer across the city-region – giving victims the chance to take part if they wish, while making sure restorative justice is used appropriately putting the needs of victims at the heart.”