Princess Anne visited Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne in Lewes today (Thursday) to learn more about the force’s restorative justice work.
The Princess Royal, who is patron of the Restorative Justice Council, was due to visit Ms Bourne’s office in Sackville House to meet members of the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership as well as those who have used the service.
Mrs Bourne said: “When Police and Crime Commissioners were given the responsibility to deliver victim services, some areas of the country were slow to buy in to the idea of restorative justice.
“In Sussex I made it a priority to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and had no doubt that restorative justice should form an important part of this provision.”
During her visit Princess Anne was heard from a number of speakers including victims of crime and a former offender talking about their experiences of the process.
The audience was also due to hear from campaigner Rosalyn Boyce, about her decision to meet her attacker following a serious sexual assault 17 years ago.
She said: “I realised that if I was ever going to fully recover, I was going to have to forgive the person that had done this to me.
“Since that three-hour conference, people close to me have noticed a huge change.I’m at peace; I’m not afraid. All the burden that I had been carrying round with me, I handed it back so I now feel a lot lighter and I genuinely don’t even think about him. Restorative justice is about empowering victims and giving them back what they have lost but it’s vital to listen to what they need.”
Other guests invited included East Sussex High Sheriff Michael Foster, Cllr Nigel Enever, chair of Lewes District Council, Mayor of Lewes Graham Mayhew and Chief Constable Giles York.
“Restorative justice is about people coming together, their voices being heard and feelings registered,” said Stephen Wells, a volunteer facilitator for the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership.
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