Why me? response to ITV’s article ‘Thousands avoid prosecution after saying ‘sorry”
On 3rd January 2018, ITV published a news article entitled ‘Thousands avoid prosecution after saying ‘sorry’’. The article is available here. This is our response.
It is a shame to see the media characterising Restorative Justice (RJ) as ‘saying ‘sorry’’. This is a misrepresentation of RJ which is detrimental to Why me?’s aim of ensuring all victims have access to justice.
Restorative Justice is a voluntary process involving the person who has suffered harm and the person who has caused harm. Trained facilitators work with victims and offenders to talk about what happened, who was affected and how, and what can be done to help repair the harm.
Sometimes people say ‘sorry’ and sometimes people forgive but neither are necessary conditions. Instead it is about victims getting answers, getting closure from the crime and taking the next step in their recovery process. For the offender is is a chance to to understand and confront the impact of their actions.
Former Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken on ITV’s Good Morning Britain highlighted the benefits to victims of crime. RJ has a proven track record at improving victims’ wellbeing following a crime. Victims of crime often feel shut out of the criminal justice process, but RJ gives them a voice. Government research has shown that RJ has an 85% satisfaction rate for victims.
Paul Kohler was attacked by four men in his own home. He said: “After the trial there were many questions that we felt were left unanswered. Restorative Justice offered the chance of being able to ask those questions that we felt remained unanswered.” – Read more victims’ stories here.
Ex-career criminal Peter Woolf met two people that he had burgled and after the RJ meeting never committed another crime. He said: “Having spent most of my life appearing in courts, going to jail, etc., I can assure you that RJ is, by far, the most difficult thing I encountered. I had easier days at the Old Bailey.” – Watch Peter’s story here.
Whether it is done in parallel to punishment or as a diversionary measure, Restorative Justice should be available to victims who want it to help them cope and recover.
Our Valuing Victims Reports highlight good practice across England and Wales where Police and Crime Commissioners are investing in Restorative Justice and seeing the results, including extremely high levels of victim satisfaction.