Victims benefit from meeting their offender. Julia hears their stories
This week is International Restorative Justice Week, Julia is pictured with Michelle Bailey, manager of Remedi Restorative Justice Services, the organisation delivers their service across York and North Yorkshire with a main aim to facilitate communication between victims and offenders.
Remedi helps both the victims and their offenders prepare, in a safe and confidential manner, for their meetings. A face to face meeting gives victims the chance to ask questions, explain their feelings and the impact of the crime, reduce their fear and empower them and give offenders the opportunity to apologise and motivate them to change their behaviour.
Julia met victims from different parts of North Yorkshire to hear their stories.
“Restorative justice can have a positive impact on both victims and offenders and I am pleased we offer the service here in North Yorkshire,” said Julia.
“All the victims told me how they had benefitted from meeting their offenders and how, as a result, they feel better and able to move forward with their lives.”
Michelle said: “All the victims wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of restorative justice since going through the process with Remedi. They truly believe other victims of all crimes would benefit from the service and were keen to have the opportunity to tell their stories to Julia”.
“It is amazing how just a single meeting can help victims to feel empowered and listened to. Meeting their offenders in a safe setting is often an important first step to achieving full closure over what has happened to them.”
A victim’s story
*Gemma was attacked on a night out with her family.
She said: “After the attack I felt I was constantly looking over my shoulder and was anxious in case I bumped into the offender in town. I didn’t socialise for months and felt the offender would attack me again if they saw me.
In the end I decided that meeting the offender might actually help with my anxiety. When we met, I was able to explain the impact the offence had had on my life and how unsafe I now felt.
The offender apologised and said they had no intention of ever hurting me again. The offender said they had not had a single drink since the offence and had got a job so they could pay me compensation.
I wasn’t expecting the offender to be so nice. If things had been different, they’d be the sort of person I’d be happy to hang out with. But I definitely felt so much better after the meeting.”
*Gemma is not the victim’s real name
If you live in North Yorkshire and have been a victim of crime, and need help to cope and recover, you can contact Supporting Victims