New initiatives aimed at preventing crime and supporting victims of illegal activity are being highlighted across Northamptonshire this week as part of Restorative Justice Week.
Part of the restorative practices approach to crime, restorative justice involves offenders and victims of their crimes coming face to face, in order to give the innocent party the chance to question their offender, as well as highlighting to offenders the impact their actions have on their victims and the community as a whole.
As part of Restorative Justice Week, Groundwork Northamptonshire – who alongside Restorative Solutions were commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver the Restorative Northamptonshire Project – are touring the county to showcase the availability and benefits of the scheme and highlighting the success stories from the project so far.
Having already visited Daventry and Kettering on Monday and Tuesday respectively, Groundwork will be speaking to residents of the county at the Guildhall, Grosvenor Centre and University of Northampton today, ahead of talking with citizens at the Corby Cube tomorrow (Friday 20th November).
Adam Simmonds, Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
“The use of restorative justice has been shown to be extremely effective in helping victims of crime to recover and move on from their ordeals, while it is also a powerful proactive strategy in preventing reoffending. We launched the Restorative Northamptonshire Project for those very reasons and it is vitally important that people are aware this service is available to them.
“We are speaking to residents of the county across Restorative Justice Week to make sure people know about the support services available to them. Whether through self-referral or through another support service such as Voice for victims and witnesses, the Restorative Northamptonshire Project is there to help everyone who has been a victim of crime across Northamptonshire.
“Our vision is to become a restorative county by 2018 where restorative approaches are used to effectively prevent and recover from crimes.”
Gary Williams, Restorative Northamptonshire Project Coordinator for Groundwork, added:
“Satisfaction levels with the use of restorative practices, including traditional restorative justice processes, are extremely high, with over 90% of people reporting positive experiences. On top of this the use of restorative justice practices have seen a 30% reduction in reoffending rates.
“The Restorative Northamptonshire Project has the biggest scope of any restorative justice project in the UK. As a result we have the chance to make a real difference in the county which is why we want to spread the word to as many people as possible about this service.”
Launched in November 2014, the four main objectives of Restorative Northamptonshire are:
- To improve access to safe and competent restorative practices within Northamptonshire across a variety of settings
- To build and strengthen capacity and capability to deliver restorative practices with Northamptonshire’s statutory, voluntary and private sectors
- To increase awareness of the benefits of restorative practices in prevention, early intervention as well as within the criminal justice system
- To contribute to building the local evidence base to inform quality practice
There are now 21 organisations actively engaged with the project, including Northamptonshire Police, Community Regeneration Charity Bench, Spire Homes, Northampton Partnership Homes, C2C Social Action and Eve Refuge.
The service has recently received case referrals from a variety of sources, including victim and offender initiated referrals and community self referrals. The project has trained 73 new facilitators from partner agencies, including 20 community volunteers from towns across the county.
Anyone wishing to access Restorative Northamptonshire services, or to find out more about the project, can visit www.voicenorthants.org, or contact project coordinator Gary Williams on 07515 574516 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.