A service commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner to help victims of crime and reduce re-offending in Warwickshire has been awarded the Restorative Service Quality Mark (RSQM).
The Restorative Justice Council (RJC) has awarded the accolade to Victim Support’s Warwickshire and West Mercia restorative justice service, alongside the charity’s national service and its operations in Merseyside and Sussex.
Restorative justice brings those harmed by crime and those responsible for the crime into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
For the victim of a crime, restorative justice gives a chance for them to have their say, get answers to their questions and to move on with their lives. For offenders, restorative justice gives an insight into the real impact of their behaviour and an opportunity to make amends.
Under the Victims Code of Practice and the Commissioner’s Victims & Witnesses Charter, any victim of crime in Warwickshire is entitled to access restorative justice services. The Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners for Warwickshire and West Mercia have jointly funded Victim Support to deliver restorative justice services in the two policing areas, as part of a wider contract for services for victims of crime.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I am very supportive of restorative justice as an initiative and am pleased to see that the services locally are developing well and receiving national accreditation.
“I have seen for myself how effective restorative justice can be, not just for the victims but also for offenders. When confronted with the true impact of their actions – often for the first time – they can take the opportunity to make meaningful amends. This in turn helps victims achieve a sense of closure and gives offenders more of an incentive to turn their lives around, helping to reduce re-offending rates.”
The RSQM is a badge of quality that guarantees that a service provides safe, high quality restorative practice which meets the six Restorative Service Standards. Victim Support Warwickshire and West Mercia joins other RSQM awardees – in sectors ranging from criminal justice through education to care – delivering high quality restorative processes. This includes the Warwickshire Youth Justice Service (WYJS), which has previously also achieved the RSQM.
Chris Straker, the RJC’s interim chief executive, said: “Congratulations to all the teams involved at Victim Support on achieving the RSQM. This demonstrates their commitment to delivering safe and effective restorative justice services.”
Barbara Oakley, Victim Support’s operations manager and restorative justice lead, said: “Applying for the RSQM has been a team effort involving several different counties. We all feel really proud that we have been able to work alongside each other to provide good quality consistent restorative justice services across our whole organisation.
“Victim Support is primarily a national charity offering support to victims of crime. Part of a victim’s journey to cope and recover is being able to find closure. This often involves understanding issues from the offender’s perspective, which is where restorative justice plays such an important part in the work we do.”