New victims’ funding for restorative justice

Published on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 14:20
Written by Govtoday staff

At least £29million is being made available to Police and Crime Commissioners and charities to help deliver Restorative Justice for victims over the coming three years, Justice Minister Damian Green has announced.

The cash – which has been recovered from offenders – will be used to help finance Restorative Justice across the country.

Restorative Justice is a process that brings together victims and offenders, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

The funding announcement coincides with Restorative Justice Week, which is aimed at raising awareness and understanding of Restorative Justice.

Justice Minister Damian Green 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. Restorative Justice gives victims the opportunity to look offenders in the eye and explain to them the real impact the crime has had on their life.

"The process also provides a chance for offenders to face the consequences of their actions. Restorative Justice is not a soft option and will not lead to offenders escaping punishment. Crimes of a serious nature will continue to be progressed through the courts.

"Research shows that Restorative Justice is associated with high levels of victim satisfaction and can also help reduce reoffending by offenders.

Ministry of Justice research of a number of Restorative Justice pilots found that 85% of victims that participated in the conferencing method of Restorative Justice were satisfied with the experience. It also found the process was associated with an estimated 14% reduction in the frequency of re-offending.

For the remaining six months of the current financial year, £5m has been provided by the Ministry of Justice for Restorative Justice. Of that, £3.85m will be distributed to Police and Crime Commissioners. A further £10m will be made available for 2014-15, with £6.25m distributed to PCCs. In 2015-16, at least £14m has been set aside.

Today's funding announcement marks an increase on money made available for Restorative Justice in 2012-13, when just over £1m was spent by the Ministry of Justice on Restorative Justice.

The money being handed to PCCs is part of a wider pot of funding for victims of at least £83 million through to 2015-16. PCCs will receive the victims' services and Restorative Justice funding in a single allocation so that they can make decisions about the services that best meet local need.

Funding for Restorative Justice will also be provided to the Restorative Justice Council, Restorative Solutions and the Youth Justice Board.

As part of Restorative Justice Week last year, an Action Plan was published to help bring about a step change in the delivery and provision of Restorative Justice across England and Wales. The Ministry of Justice is publishing a progress report one year on and a refreshed plan which further demonstrates the Government's continued commitment to Restorative Justice.

The Ministry of Justice has also announced that the Restorative Justice Council will develop key Restorative Justice service standards for training, practice and supervision, as well an accreditation framework. These will be available by January 2014 as part of one of the commitments of the Action Plan.

Victim Support lead on Restorative Justice, Gaynor McKeown said:

"We welcome the Government's commitment to fund Restorative Justice. Victims tell us that they want to see offenders punished, but also they don't want to see their offender commit another crime.

"Our work shows that when Restorative Justice is planned around the victim's wishes, it helps them move on with their lives, and can reduce crime by getting offenders to appreciate the impact of their actions on others.

"We look forward to working closely with our partners to ensure Restorative Justice services meet the needs of victims and can be accessed where and when they want them."

Source: MoJ

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