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Meet your offender

Meeting your offender, known as 'restorative justice', gives you the opportunity to meet or communicate with the offender in a controlled and safe environment. It’s part of our commitment to putting victims at the heart of everything we do.

The restorative justice process is managed by our victims and witness hub. It aims to repair the harm caused by crime and reduce re-offending by allowing victims to talk to their offender about;

  • the crime
  • how it made them feel
  • the harm it caused
  • ways of repairing the issue.

How restorative justice works 

It is always the victim’s choice to meet or talk with the offender and take part in restorative justice. It is available to victims of any type of crime and at any point during the legal process, including after court sentencing.

All mediation meetings and contact between victims and offenders are managed by trained practitioners who ensure they are never left alone. Restorative justice meetings must include;

  • the offender taking responsibility
  • the victim, community or other affected party being involved
  • a structured process to establish what happened and what the impact has been
  • an outcome that seeks to put right that harm that’s been caused.

Benefits of restorative justice are;

  • victims feeling empowered by having their say
  • victims being able to move on with their lives
  • offenders recognising the impact of what they have done, taking responsibility and making amends
  • research showing 85% of victims who participated in Restorative Justice felt it was a positive experience
  • the process being completely voluntary for both parties.

If you would like to talk about whether restorative justice is right for you as a victim, please email us restorativejustice@cambs.pnn.police.uk.

Read more information about restorative justice on the Ask the Police website.

Indirect meetings

If the offender and/or the victim do not wish to meet, communication can be made through;

  • forms
  • letters
  • videos
  • teleconferencing
  • shuttle mediation.

Restorative justice group meetings

Restorative conferences is typically used to help deal with more serious offences in schools, care homes and communities.

They are usually attended by a practitioner, the victim, the offender and their supporters such as family members and friends. Professionals such as social workers and members of the wider community are also occasionally involved.

The meetings follow a clear structure and usually end by developing a formal agreement or contract for the offender to abide by.

Family group meeting types

  • Group meetings - extended family and friends of the offender are invited to come together with the aim to resolve conflict or behaviour. It can also involve other agencies that the facilitator feels may offer support such as social workers or education representatives.
  • Welfare family group meetings - the young offender is invited to attend with their extended family and other significant people. After the problems have been outlined and agencies have explained what support is available, the family is given private time to work out an action plan for the young person.
  • Youth justice family group meetings - this is similar to the welfare family group, except the victim is also invited to attend, with supporter(s) if desired, and the action plan often contains restorative and welfare elements.

Community meetings

This involves various members of a community affected by a particular crime or conflict. Meetings follow a clear structure and an outcome agreement may be agreed. It is often facilitated by police officers and has been used to deal with anti-social behaviour effectively.

Community mediation and justice panels

This allows community volunteers to resolve low level crime. Community mediation is often used in neighbour disputes to resolve conflicts where there is harm on both sides, rather than there being a clear victim and offender.

Videos

Here are some videos you may find useful when thinking about the option of restorative justice and how it could help;

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