Victims to get their say through community remedy30 October, 2014
VICTIMS are set to be given a say in how offenders are dealt with after Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner unveiled final plans for the county’s Community Remedy.
The move means offenders who commit certain types of low-level crime or anti-social behaviour could be asked to apologise to their victim, undertake a course to address their behaviour or repair the damage they’ve caused – giving them an opportunity to understand the full impact of their actions.
Clive Grunshaw said: “One of my key commitments is to empower victims. I don’t want them to feel isolated from the process of dealing with offenders – I want them to have the opportunity to be part of it, and that is what the Community Remedy will give them.
“I also want to reduce re-offending levels, and in order to do that we need to rehabilitate offenders and ensure they understand the effect their actions have had.
“It is an approach I hope will have a positive impact both on the victim and the offender. I want crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents that are dealt with out-of-court to be handled efficiently and effectively in a way which is satisfactory to the victim and has a lasting impact on the offender. I hope the launch of Community Remedy is an important step toward achieving that.”
The Commissioner launched an online consultation to gather residents’ views on what they thought the Community Remedy options should be for the county, and also spoke to residents who attended Lancashire Constabulary’s recent Open Days at police headquarters.
Now, the following six options have been agreed with the county’s Chief Constable for use in Lancashire:
- Offender to apologise to the victim either face-to-face or through a letter
- Offender to meet the victim face-to-face through a Restorative Justice process, which gives the victim the opportunity to explain the impact the crime has had on them.
- Offender participates in a structured activity or course to address offending behaviour, issues such as substance abuse and to reduce the likelihood of re-offending. Where the offender is a young person, parental involvement may also be an option.
- Compensation to be paid to victim by offender
- Offender to undertake reparation work directly to the victim to repair any damage caused.
- Offender to carry out reparation work in the community, which could include a community project suggested by the victim.
Tim Ewen, Head of Criminal Justice for Lancashire Constabulary, said: “We
are fully supportive of this approach as a means for putting victims at the heart of the process and also seeking to reduce reoffending.”
The remedies will be delivered in partnership with other partners and agencies, and will only be used when the offender accepts they are responsible for the offence and both the victim and offender agree a Community Remedy is the appropriate way forward.
A Community Remedy will only be used when the offence can be dealt with out-of-court, and the attending officer will have the final decision on whether the proposed remedy is appropriate and proportionate to both the offender and the offence.