Victims of violent offences and burglary in the capital will get the chance to come face to face with the perpetrators of their crimes under a new scheme being launched by the UK’s largest probation trust.
London Probation Trust, which manages around 43,000 offenders at any one time – equivalent to half the entire prison population in England and Wales – will run the pilot in ten London boroughs from next month (April).
The arrangements will see criminals convicted of these offences and handed a community sentence in lieu of time behind bars made to get involved in the Restorative Justice pilot as part of their order.
London Probation Trust Assistant Chief Officer, Andrew Hillas, said: “Restorative Justice gives victims the opportunity to tell offenders about the impact the crime has had on them and their lives. It provides some closure. And often victims are keen to understand why the crime has happened in the first place.
“More than that, people want to feel reassured that the perpetrator is going to change their behaviour, leave their criminal ways behind them and that there will be fewer victims in future.
“For offenders, meeting their victim provides them with a chance to make amends for their crime and take responsibility for their actions. Research shows that these meetings can help reduce reoffending rates, particularly with offences of violence and burglary.
“Though we have done Restorative Justice work before it has been on a much smaller scale. We are now working in partnership with an experienced community mediation agency, CALM, to ensure our programme works to the highest standards.”
London Probation Trust will offer Restorative Justice as a Specified Activity Requirement as part of a community sentence. Offenders will work with a facilitator for four sessions, with the last session a meeting with the victim. If the victim chooses not to be involved (they must consent to be part of the process), there will be alternative work on victim awareness and victim empathy.
The pilot will run in Brent, Camden, Croydon, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Newham and Sutton.
Visit the London Probation website to learn more.