Twelve volunteers - known as restorative justice facilitators - completed a three day course at Lewes Prison to prepare them for assisting in conferences where victims of crime are able to meet with offenders through the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership.
During the course, the new facilitators took part in a number of practical exercises and learnt about the benefits of restorative justice meetings.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne said: “I’m pleased that we have a new group of volunteers and practitioners who want to help victims recover from crime. Restorative justice can help victims cope and recover from crime and also can reduce re-offending.
“Restorative justice places the person harmed at the centre of decision-making and enables them to be clear about what would help to make amends for wrong doing and harm caused
“We generally have around 45 volunteers at any one time and, as lives change, we lose some so this means we can keep a healthy pool of people who are enthusiastic about restorative justice and can continue this great work.
“Some of the newly-trained practitioners are staff at Brighton and Hove City Council and will help further embed our drive to create the first ‘Restorative City’ in the south east.”
Sussex has been running its Restorative Justice Partnership for more than two years and was recently awarded the Restorative Services Quality Mark and national recognition from the Restorative Practice UK for its services.
Linda Millington, who works for Victim Support in Sussex, was one of the volunteers who completed the course at HM Lewes Prison last week. She said: “Restorative justice gives a chance for the victims’ voices to be heard. Often they want to understand why they have been a victim of crime and restorative justice is a way of getting answers to this kind of question.
“Restorative justice is all about moving forward from what happened. Through my role at Victim Support I see every day the positive impact that restorative justice has for victims of crime. Restorative facilitators are key to the success of restorative justice and the training gave a thorough grounding in the skills needed for this work.”
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