Barnet Council, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police, is launching a groundbreaking partnership during Restorative Justice Week 2023 (19-25 November).
This will promote restorative justice (RJ) initiatives within the borough, creating a platform for dialogue and healing among those impacted by crime. The collaboration will provide a blueprint for improvements in RJ provision across the Met and Barnet.
Barnet’s Safer Communities and Partnership Board Chair, Cllr Sara Conway, emphasised the importance of this partnership, stating, "The joint effort between Barnet Council and the Metropolitan Police signifies our partnership's ongoing commitment to rebuilding trust and ensuring victims' rights are fulfilled. Restorative Justice has shown remarkable effectiveness in supporting victims and rehabilitating offenders."
Restorative justice is a voluntary process that helps victims by giving them a voice and a platform to explain the impact of the crime on their wellbeing. It also holds offenders to account, since it requires them to accept responsibility for their actions, take steps to repair the harm and ultimately, change their behaviour.
Superintendent Lorraine Busby-McVey said: ‘I am thrilled to see that victims will be offered restorative justice giving them a voice whilst providing opportunities for offenders to hear the impact and consequences of their behaviour and helping them rehabilitate and make amends.’
The RJ process involves supported communication between parties and can be conducted indirectly, for example in letters or pre-recorded video, or directly, in a face-to-face conference or meeting. Trained facilitators ensure the process is conducted safely, under mutually agreed conditions.
According to data from Why Me?, a national charity delivering and promoting Restorative Justice, 85% of victims who took part in a Restorative Justice meeting were satisfied with the process, and for every £1 invested in Restorative Justice, £14 is saved. It also states that restorative Justice can reduce reoffending rates by as much as 27%.
This collaboration will streamline and accelerate the referral process for victims of crime, ensuring they are informed about RJ, as stipulated in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
Residents affected by crime in Barnet already have access to support through the Barnet Victim Care Hub, regardless of whether the crime has been reported. The Hub provides comprehensive assistance, including information and pathways to Restorative Justice, alongside onward referral to specialist agencies and provisions for personal and home safety devices.
The initiative has been further bolstered by dedicated volunteers, whose efforts have supported RJ training and advocacy. As part of RJ Week, a volunteer recruitment drive will be launched, inviting individuals interested in contributing to this impactful process to join the team.
Barnet Council has a dedicated page for victim support on its website for anyone who is in need of help: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/directories/directme/victim-support-barnet
Notes to editors
If you would like to know more about Restorative Justice, please contact the MPS Restorative Justice team on 07435 118 594 or, by email, MO10Mailbox-.RestorativeJustice@met.police.uk alternatively you can access the service online through the attached link, which also enables you to make an application for yourself or on behalf on another:
What is Restorative Justice?: What is RJ leaflet (why-me.org)
While many people report positive outcomes following a RJ intervention, it may not be suitable for everyone. The nature of the crime may be such that it is not a safe or an appropriate option for every case.
Restorative Justice Week will serve as a platform to promote dialogue and understanding, echoing this year's theme, 'Restoring Dialogue, Solidarity & Justice in Today’s Societies.' It will feature officer training events and sessions at local schools, contributing to a culture that values resilient relationships and conflict resolution among young people.
Statistics and data referenced in this press release are derived from various studies, including reports by Remedi Restorative Solutions and Why Me?, showcasing the efficacy and benefits of Restorative Justice interventions.
Calm Mediation, are pan-London providers of mediation, Restorative Justice and conflict resolution services, they are providing additional resource to the Borough whilst a programme of training is rolled out to schools, community groups and organisations in Restorative Justice approaches. The Barnet Victim Care Hub will triage referrals and pass on referrals to Calm mediation to be assessed for intervention.