Giving victims the opportunity to meet the person who harmed them or their property is a fundamental right which must be expanded, according to Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd.
Giving his full backing to a week of events to promote the internationally-endorsed Restorative Justice Awareness Week (16th to 20th November), the Commissioner’s ‘Victims’ Champion’ is already working hand-in-hand with the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Law. The University is delivering a Restorative Justice strategy for the county and, with the Commissioner will develop training, processes and sharing of best practice for those involved in RJ, including police and probation staff.
Commissioner Lloyd has made a pledge in his 2015-20 Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire (Everybody’s Business) to put victims at the centre of criminal justice, with services improved and shaped to their needs.
He said: “Victims’ rights are of utmost importance and I will fight hard to ensure that we not only meet legislative requirements but exceed them.
“A crime can have a devastating impact on someone’s life and Restorative Justice is proven to help a great number of victims to cope and recover. It can also help the offender – many, being faced with their victims and told directly the impact of their actions, do see the error of their ways and change their behaviour. This means fewer victims in the future and an overall reduction in crime and a better society.”
One of the events being held at the University is open to the general public and features just such an offender, Peter Woolfe, who has stopped his life of crime and is now touring the country to promote the benefits of Restorative Justice.
Also speaking at the event is Brian Dowling, an ex-police officer who now lives in Hertfordshire and is an expert in RJ.
‘Me, Myself and My Victims’ is being held on Thursday 20th November from 5.30pm at the De Havilland campus in Hatfield. If anyone wishes to attend they can register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/me-myself-and-my-victims-tickets-19298228521 . The event is free.
As part of the programme of events for the week, there is a multi-agency meeting on partnership working to introduce Restorative Justice into Community Remedy in Hertfordshire on Monday. On Tuesday, a series of presentations at the University aims to raise awareness among students; Wednesday sees an all-day training event for practitioners and Friday features RJ training for students.
If you have been a victim of crime, and the offender has admitted their guilt, you are entitled to ask about Restorative Justice and how it may help you. Please contact Beacon - Hertfordshire’s Victim Care Centre on 0300 011 55 55 who can advise you your options.
If anyone wishes to contact the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner or find out more about Restorative Justice in Hertfordshire, they can email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 01707 806100 or write to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, Harpenden Police Station, 15 Vaughan Road, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ.
You can also follow the Commissioner on Twitter @HertsPCC and find out more on his Facebook page: HertsPCC.