Over £500,000 given by Police and Crime Commissioner to improve Restorative Justice in West Yorkshire (1 Feb 2016)

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has awarded more than £500,000 from the dedicated Victims Fund to help victims of crime.

The money will ensure that local authorities and community safety partners develop their work around Restorative Justice.

Restorative Justice includes where victims of crime engage with offenders through prior agreement with the aim of seeking closure for victims and helping the offender understand the consequence and impact of their actions. Restorative Justice is primarily aimed at helping the victim as well reducing reoffending which is a key aim.

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "Putting the victims at the heart of everything we do is of paramount importance which I have worked hard to emphasise and develop over the past three years.

"Being a victim of crime can leave you feeling devastated and wondering why you were targeted, and the offenders do not stop to think about the implications of their actions and very often go on to reoffend.

"This is where Restorative Justice can come in to offer an alternative approach, where it's appropriate, which aims to work with victims and offenders dealing with the aftermath of any offence and its implications at the time and for the future.

"We have to ensure that the victims' needs are always taken into account and that everything possible is done to support them whenever appropriate. By improving the way Restorative Justice works we are making sure that the victims' voices are heard and that there is a more consistent approach across the whole of West Yorkshire.

"The money has been awarded to West Yorkshire's five Community Safety Partnerships (CSP) and the not-for-profit organisation Restorative Solutions to deliver and work together.

"We have five strong CSPs in West Yorkshire who I meet with regularly and have joint agreements in place in help deliver the vision of the Police and Crime Plan in keeping communities safe and feeling safe."

The Community Safety Partnerships across West Yorkshire are statutory local partnerships, established by the Crime and Disorder Act to co-ordinate action on crime and disorder. CSP partners include the Police, local authorities, probation service, health authorities, Fire and Rescue, social landlords, the voluntary sector, businesses and other organisations.

Restorative Justice brings victims of crime and the offenders together to talk, hopefully enabling everyone to find a positive way forward so the victim has closure and can move on and the offender can recognise the consequences of their actions and the impact they have on others. Restorative Justice has the potential to rehabilitate offenders and help them stop offending in the future.

Restorative Solutions has been given £49,500 from the PCC's Victims and Witnesses Fund following a tender process. This is to be used to deliver the Restorative Justice Development Project of which there are six main aims:

  • To put victims at the centre of its work and demonstrate how they will be supported during and post their involvement.
  • To co-ordinate Restorative Justice at the West Yorkshire level.
  • To improve referral mechanisms which should improve access to Restorative Justice and the co-ordination of referral processes across agencies.
  • To identify gaps in provision and seek to fill these gaps.
  • To provide training and development.
  • To enable routes to national accreditation.

Kate Brooksbank, Restorative Justice Development Manager, said: "This is a really exciting opportunity for us to enhance the excellent work that is already being undertaken in West Yorkshire. The PCC's continued commitment to the development of Restorative Justice, by ensuring high quality services are provided, demonstrates his promise to give victims a voice and ensure they are at the centre of everything we do."

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