The Victims’ Bill is being prepared to go through Parliament this year, and the Government has long promised it will strengthen the rights of those harmed by crime.
This is a real opportunity for the Government to commit to making Restorative Justice available for everyone affected by crime and conflict.
Why Me director Lucy Jaffé writes in a recent blog:
The Bill is being prepared to go through Parliament this year, and the Government has long promised it will strengthen the rights of those of us who are harmed by crime. This legislation offers the Government a chance to be the champions and world leaders in RJ by:
- Legislating for Restorative Justice to be available to every victim of crime at the point of need.
- Providing statutory footing for the 12 entitlements in the Victim Code of Practice.
- Creating clear leadership from the top with a National RJ action plan to be laid before Parliament every year, a dedicated Minister of Restorative Justice and team of civil servants.
- Substantial investment into making Restorative Justice available to everyone.
Restorative Justice approaches people as people and trained facilitators view the world through an objective lens. When working in a restorative way, solutions to crime and conflict are arrived at by identifying each person’s needs and discussing how they can best be met, rather than pigeonholing and condemning individuals to a life with a label.
This restorative approach challenges outdated funding models – one pot for victims and one much larger pot to ‘deal’ with people who commit crime. Current investment in victim services is miserably low. Of the £9.15bn budget for the Ministry of Justice, £103m was distributed to Police and Crime Commissioners via the Victims’ Fund, of which only a small percentage is spent on Restorative Justice; and the use of Restorative Justice by probation and prison service is optional and limited.