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Restorative Dorset

Delivering restorative justice and restorative mediation outcomes

Imagine being able to speak to the person who committed a crime against you.

Imagine being able to tell them the effect the crime had on you, your life and your family.

Imagine behaving in a way that you now regret and feel remorseful for, and being given an opportunity to repair some of the harm you caused.

Imagine being able to speak with members of your community in order to agree ways in which, despite your differences and historic behaviours, you can move forward and improve where you live.

This can be achieved using restorative practice.

Restorative practice supports people by enabling them to recognise that all of their activities affect others; that people are responsible for their choices and actions, and can be held accountable for them. It enables people to reflect on how they interact with each other and consider how best to prevent and repair harm and conflict.

How we're providing restorative practice for the community

Supported by the Office of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, our Safer Poole Partnership is implementing the Restorative Dorset service. Newly commissioned, we are in the process of developing and co-ordinating the use of restorative practices across Dorset; building upon the work that is already being carried out in Poole and West Dorset by skilled and experienced volunteer facilitators.

We have a team of skilled and trained volunteers ready to work with those already making a difference in our communities, whilst assisting Dorset Police and other partner agencies, such as housing associations.

Volunteers and supported and co-ordinated by our Restorative Practice Co-ordinators.

Restorative practice interventions currently being provided:

Restorative Justice

The Ministry of Justice defines restorative justice as:

"The process that brings those harmed by crime, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward."

Restorative Justice can be used at any stage in the criminal justice process, and can involve both direct and indirect communication. It focuses on the needs of the victim but is supportive of all participants.

Restorative Justice helps to make communities stronger and safer by:

  • increasing victim satisfaction
  • giving victims a voice
  • reducing victims post-traumatic stress
  • reducing re-offending rates

For more information on Restorative Justice, visit the Restorative Justice Council's website.

Restorative Mediation

Restorative Mediation is a way of resolving disputes. Volunteer Facilitators, who are impartial, assist those involved by bringing them into communication so they can work together, in good faith, and find ways to improve things. As such, those most involved and most affected by the conflict decide what needs to be done. They agree, own and do their best to abide by, the outcomes.

Adult Restorative Disposal

Some crimes and offences of anti-social behaviour may be dealt with by Dorset Police as an "Out of court disposal". This means that the case does not get referred to court. In some circumstances (criteria is applied) a case may be finalised involving a restorative practice, usually a Restorative Justice Conference. This is known as an Adult Restorative Disposal. Dorset Police may refer such cases to us to deliver the restorative intervention on their behalf.

We do not have any involvement with young people. These cases are dealt with by the Safer Schools and Communities Team, a partnership between Dorset Police and the Dorset Combined Youth Offending Service.

Restorative Practice uses scripted face to face meetings, facilitated by independent, trained volunteers, who work with those involved, preparing and supporting them throughout the process. Those affected by ongoing conflict are helped to reach a solution by creating a morally binding outcome agreement.

The purpose of a restorative meeting is always to provide an opportunity to share, in a safe and respectful environment, how the incident/situation has impacted/is impacting upon those involved. This process can help participants to move forward with their lives.

Typical outcomes may include:

  • apologies expressed and heard
  • victims can ask questions and get answers
  • reparation in the form of financial compensation or planned activity
  • other agreed future actions and commitments such as agreement not to behave in a particular way
  • in cases of mediation, channels of communication are opened and ways of dealing with future conflict may be agreed

I am interested, what next?

If you would like to talk to someone in confidence about Restorative Justice or Restorative Mediation or are interested in what is involved in becoming a volunteer with us please contact:

The Restorative Dorset Team

Telephone:
01202 223106

Email:
restorativedorset@poole.gov.uk

If you do not manage to speak to a person first time, please leave a message with your contact details and we will get back to you as soon as possible.