A university professor has hosted a special event in the city to highlight how powerful a process restorative justice can be.
Dr. Kerry Clamp, a criminology professor at the University of Nottingham held the event to raise more awareness of victims speaking to their offenders in the aftermath of a crime in order to address their needs.
The event took place at the National Justice Museum ahead of national justice week which runs in the third week of November every year.
Dr. Clamp said: “I hope that this event allowed people who already knew about restorative justice to find more allies in the room who can share their experiences and ideas of the values of restorative justice.
“It gives us the opportunity to empower people to have a voice and to reflect on what their needs are.”
Guest speakers spoke about their experiences with restorative justice at the event, and two members from Notts Victim CARE also attended to offer support and their insight on the process.
“It brings so many benefits for both the harmed and the harmer.”
Victoria Willis, restorative justice practitioner.
Andrew Goodall, restorative justice practitioner at Notts Victim CARE who attended the event said: “We are working hard to raise awareness of restorative justice and we always get positive feedback when people are made aware, but I don’t think it is widely known.”
Mr Goodall’s colleague, Victoria Willis, added: “People have a right to know about it.
“It can be cathartic and bring so many benefits for both the harmed and the harmer.”
Dr. Clamp was first introduced to the scheme in her home country of South Africa when she was given the opportunity to be a trained as a restorative justice practitioner there.
She wasn’t initially a fan of the restorative justice, and described South Africa as being a “really punitive place to live” in terms of the process.
She said: “I actually set out to learn more about restorative justice just to show how much of a pants idea it was.”
After spending some time in the UK and Australia however, Dr. Clamp now has a completely different outlook on the process and wants to help raise awareness of it.
Leaflets for Notts Victim CARE were handed out at the event for those who wanted more information, and refreshments were also made available for all attendees.
As well as hosting events such as these, Dr. Clamp has also had a number of her works published in the last six years which mainly focus on the use of restorative justice in policing and how police officers understand it.
Although she thinks that it is important that people know restorative justice is available to them, Dr. Clamp also has a healthy scepticism about it and around the governments approach to it in particular.
She said: “I’m quite critical about how it is implemented and how money is invested in it.
“The government says it is concerned about its victims and that they want to make sure victims achieve a sense of justice.
“If that is true, then why do so many victims feel so let down by the victim justice process, and why do so few know about it?
“It is a sad state of affairs.”
- Restorative justice began to gain credibility in the UK in the late 1990’s after Sir Charles Pollard, the chief constable of the Thames Valley Police at the time, introduced it.
- According the the restorative justice council and the government, it provides an 85 per cent victim satisfaction rate and a 14 per cent reduction in the frequency of reoffending.
- Options of restorative justice include a written or face-to-face apology to the victim, a restorative justice conference, or self-funded rehabilitation where the offender pays to get help.
- The government funded £7 million into a seven year research programme into restorative justice in 2001