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Victims are put first in new restorative justice scheme at Lincoln Crown Court

By PWhitelam_LE  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

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Victims of crime will, for the first time, be given the chance to tell offenders exactly how they made them feel before the culprits are sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court.

The court is one of 10 nationally to pilot a new restorative justice scheme for victims of a serious crime involving theft and violence, including robbery and burglary, where an offender pleads guilty.

The trials are due to begin early next year and in pathfinder courts Victim Support Staff and specially-trained volunteers will be on hand to explain how restorative justice works.

The scheme brings victims and offenders together to attempt to repair the harm caused by crime and find a positive way forward.

Research shows it can help victims move on from crime and stop perpetrators reoffending.

The Underwood Trust has awarded £1m to the Restorative Solutions organisation which has teamed up with Victim Support to develop the programme which could involve a face-to-face meeting with the offender, contact through a facilitator, or in writing.

The pilots will last for 18 months, during and after which they will be evaluated by the Institute of Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck College, University of London.

The Ministry of Justice will then decide on whether to extend the initiative to other areas.

The news follows a recent announcement for the provision of £29million extra Government funding for RJ services over the next 3 years.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support said: “We are very pleased to be working with Restorative Solutions to offer this powerful and well-proven intervention to victims.

“Many victims want to make sure their offender doesn’t go on to commit another crime. Where RJ has the victim and repair of harm as its focus, we know it can genuinely help people to move on and recover from the effects of crime – and in turn prevent re-offending.

“We strongly believe that all victims should be offered the opportunity to take part in RJ if they want to, and welcome the overall commitment bolstering and increasing RJ services from the Government as a real step forward.”

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