Restorative justice services enhanced as Khan’s crime victim champion launches review

by Dave Hill

All Londoners who are victims of crime will have access to a restorative justice service to help them recover from their experience, Sadiq Khan pledged today. City Hall says that a sum of £1.3m, announced last year, will complement and enhance existing help to ensure “a consistent service across the capital, filling gaps in provision and operating alongside criminal justice procedures”.

Restorative justice enables victims of crime to meet those who offended against them in order to convey the impact made on their lives. Khan’s statutory four year police and crime plan, which was published in March, advocated it as an effective way to “improve victim satisfaction” and “bring offenders face to face with the consequences of their actions” once they have admitted guilt, with no influence on sentencing. The plan acknowledges that it is not appropriate in all cases.

The use to which the Mayor’s financial contribution will be put was unveiled at a Victims’ Summit held at Westminster’s QEII Centre, attended by representatives of the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, Victim Support and HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and led by the Mayor’s Victims’ Commissioner, Claire Waxman.

They heard personal testimonies from victims of crime and insights from academics on how the trauma endured by victims can inhibit them from becoming witnesses. Ministry of Justice data for 2015/16 shows that victims or other witnesses failing to attend or withdrawing from trials accounted for around one quarter of them being deemed ineffective.

Waxman, herself a high-profile crime victim and now a victims campaigner, was appointed in line with a Khan manifesto promise improve the treatment of victims, whom the Met numbered at approximately 740,000 last year. Her brief includes reviewing whether the requirements of the government’s code of practice for victims of crime are being met in the capital.

“Becoming a victim of crime can be one of the most devastating, traumatic experiences of a person’s life,” Waxman said. “There are so many great examples of quality service to victims of crime, but also too many examples of poor service which we must address. Like the Mayor, I’m determined to make the journey better for victims of crime in this city, and I’m delighted that so many of our partner agencies have come to the table to work together to achieve that goal.”

 

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