Restorative Justice Development in Avon & Somerset

Helen Rosenthal

Restorative Justice Development Manager, Avon and Somerset

We are shaping the future of restorative justice provision in Avon and Somerset. Police and Crime Commissioners have been given funding from the Ministry of Justice to build capacity and fund restorative justice services. In 2015 we are going to work with partners involved in delivering restorative justice in Avon and Somerset to strengthen provision and design a restorative justice delivery model to inform commissioned services.

This work is an exciting opportunity to develop victim-led restorative justice in Avon and Somerset and will be an important part of significant work underway to transform services for victims through Lighthouse, the Integrated Victim and Witness Care Programme. We view strong partnership working as essential to the success of this development and will ensure that all partners with an interest in restorative justice are given the opportunity to contribute to this important piece of work.

We are fortunate in Avon and Somerset to be starting from a strong base and we see this as an exciting opportunity to build on and make the most of new developments, so that victims in Avon and Somerset are able to access restorative justice at every stage of their journey.

Communities across Avon and Somerset are affected by crime on a daily basis. For some, knowing that the person who has caused them harm has been punished is enough to bring closure and enable them to move forward. For others, the Criminal Justice Service cannot bring closure. In Avon and Somerset we believe that victims should have a voice so they can express the hurt that has affected them and their community.

Through the development of restorative justice services in Avon and Somerset we strive to put the victim at the heart of what we do.
A multi-agency restorative justice service in Avon and Somerset will give victims a voice and access to support. Working closely with partner organisations to develop a joined-up approach to a restorative justice service it is our vision to improve the experience of victims throughout their journey. We recognise that time and effort are important investment for the success of the development however restorative justice is a learning process that seeks to bring together people who are willing to work towards common goals.

Restorative justice requires vision and clarity of goals and as we lay out our plans for development we also make a commitment to the values and principles of restorative justice. Implementing a successful service model necessitates a new way of thinking about how we work collaboratively to deliver restorative justice services. It also requires an understanding that community cohesion, participation, and joint decision making are inherent characteristics of restorative justice. In developing restorative justice and presenting our vision for the future we commit to including people, to open communications, and to be open in our need to do things differently.

Further information and reading can be found here