Take Action: write to your MP
On May 25th, the draft Victims’ Bill was published. The much-anticipated draft offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enshrine victims’ rights in law. This has never been done before in a single piece of legislation.
However, the draft does not make any reference to Restorative Justice. This is a missed opportunity to strengthen access to Restorative Justice for victims. The Justice Select Committee published its pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Victims Bill on September 30th. The report found that the draft bill does not commit to enshrining the rights of victims in law, as the government had hoped.
We are urging our followers to write to their MPs to ask them to take action to ensure RJ provisions are built in the Victims Bill, in line with the Justice Select Committee Report.
We have written a template that you can use below, but you may wish to add some personal details to your letter. For example:
- A personal experience you have had and its impact on you and your family.
- Include examples from your professional experience, how has RJ benefited the people you work with.
- It is always good to tell your MP you appreciate their work on something they have done to set the tone for a constructive dialogue, even if you disagree on a lot of areas. You can find your MP’s previous voting record at www.theyworkforyou.com or visit their website to find out campaigns they have taken part in.
To send your letter to your MP, you can find out who they are on www.theyworkforyou.com, where their email address will also be listed.
Make sure to contact your own MP, it doesn’t matter if you voted for them, they represent you in Parliament if your postcode is within their constituency. You can email or post your letter, or both. Some MPs are more likely to take notice of a hand-written letter. Just make sure to include your address.
Template letter to send to your MP
Dear __________ MP
I am writing to you regarding the draft Victims Bill.
I was disappointed to see that victims’ access to Restorative Justice is not provided for within the draft Bill.
Victims of crime often feel excluded, confused, and revictimised by the criminal justice process. Restorative Justice can support victims to better cope and recover from the negative impact of crime. Restorative Justice centres the victim, and allows them to have their voices heard. It can give them the opportunity to talk about the impact of the incident and seek answers about why it happened.
Restorative Justice can reduce reoffending, and help people who have committed crimes take responsibility for and recognise the consequences of their actions.
The Justice Select Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny found that this draft Bill presents a unique and currently missed opportunity to provide victims with a statutory entitlement to be informed about and access Restorative Justice, as well as to be referred to a Restorative Justice service.
As my MP, I would like you to take action by:
- Supporting the findings of the pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Victims Bill.
- Writing to the Victims Minister and ask them to include Restorative Justice as a statutory entitlement in the Victims Bill.
- Writing to the Justice Minister and ask them to introduce a new National Action Plan on Restorative Justice.
- Becoming a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Restorative Justice.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Let us know when you’ve written to your MP via email or social media. It can be helpful to use platforms like Twitter to encourage your MP to take action. Here are some tweets you might use:
Today I wrote to my MP (include their @) about including Restorative Justice in the draft Victims Bill @whymeUK @CommonsJustice #RestorativeJustice
Restorative Justice must be included in the draft Victims Bill @(insert your MPs handle) @CommonsJustice @whymeUK
The draft Victims Bill presents a unique and currently missed opportunity to provide victims with a statutory entitlement to be informed about and access Restorative Justice, as well as to be referred to a Restorative Justice service. @(insert your MPs handle) @CommonsJustice @whymeUK
This is a blog by our Campaigns and Communications Manager Meka Beresford