How does RJ Work for Offenders?
RJ helps by delivering benefits that the traditional justice process cannot. Whilst this may be part of your sentence plan, and you are encouraged to become involved, it is additionally for and about amending things between you and the person you harmed.
You may want to make things better, but may feel helpless as to what to do. With RJ it is important to remember, a small gesture, such as an apology, the willingness to hear how your actions have impacted another person, and the reassurance that it will never happen again, can make all the difference to a victim.
Many people harmed by crime, often say this is what they want. For may victims, having their questions answered, such as why you chose to harm them, can restore their peace of mind and have a huge impact on both yours and their recovery.
Successful RJ can reduce the likelihood or you repeating your crime in the future.
Research has found that taking part in RJ has prompted offenders to think about changing their behaviour and has been shown to reduce re-offending by 14%
How RJ can help you
Being able to tell your story to the person you have harmed is as important to you as it is to the person who has been harmed. By telling your story, you have an opportunity to explain to the person why you have casued them harm. This allows you to reflect back on your understanding of why you behaved in that way.
To hear how it has impacted on the other person. Understanding how your actions have affected another person is powerful. By finding the courage that is required to face up to the harm that has been caused, and take responsibility, can help you face the consequences of your behaviour and make amends. You can feel proud and make your family proud; this can help you to regain trust and restore respect that has been lost, including your own self-respect.
Allows the person harmed to gain answers to their own questions. Facing or being in contact with the person you have harmed helps you to find the courage and to take responsibility to try to correct some of the wrongs. Many victims want answers to questions in order to fill gaps and gain reassurance and closure. Many offenders are genuinely moved and want to respond in ways that may reassure a victim that it was not intentional.
To show yourself in a better light. When given the opportunity to stop and think about the harm caused, many people who commit a crime regret their behaviour. RJ allows you an opportunity to separate the deed from yourself as a person. Some thoughts may arrise like “This isn’t reaally me”; “I’m not like that” and “I’m not a criminal”. In certain cases it may be that you are able to explain you have been like that, but you have changed and you are not like that anymore.
If you report a crime to Staffordshire Police, they will ask you if you are happy for your details to be passed on to the Staffordshire Victim Gateway and Restorative Justice Service. We will automatically receive your contact information and a brief overview of your experience and the crime, if you don’t specify to Staffordshire Police that you don’t want us to make contact with you. If you initially opted out of the service, you can self-refer at any time.
We can provide you with advice, information & emotional and practical support. We can liaise and advocate on your behalf, and introduce and support you to specialist services, who can help you gain the relevant support that can help in your recovery. We will be with you every step of the way. Our support is free and confidential, regardless of whether you have reported a crime or incident to the police, we are here to support you.