Welcome to Wallisdown, Winton West & Ensbury Park Area Forum 2023
RESIDENTS PUBLIC MEETING
at Bournemouth Blind Society’s Rooper Hall
5 Victoria Park Road BH9 2RB
2. Neighbourhood PolicingTeam Report
3 Ward Councillors Report
4 Residents Questions
Next Public Meeting Saturday 20th January 2024
Bournemouth Blind Society’s
5 Victoria Park Road BH9 2RB
Tea and Coffee available from 9.30 am
Why Restorative Justice
is crucial to ensure
victims voices are heard
This week is Restorative Justice Week (Nov 19-25), an international campaign which aims to highlight the power of restorative justice and the organisations who work to facilitate this important process. I know restorative justice can provide the tools to help victims of crime deal with what’s happened to them, through a safe, mediated approach. In Dorset, my office commissioned the Restorative Justice Dorset service in May 2021. This service is delivered by Restorative Solutions and focuses on offences committed by adults – those aged 18 and over.
Therefore, this week I would like to hand over my newsletter to Jackie Willson, service delivery manager and restorative justice practitioner for Restorative Justice Dorset and Leila Pastecchia, service delivery assistant, to tell you about the service, and the difference it can make to people’s lives.
Jackie Willson: “One of the common misconceptions around restorative justice is that it is a soft option. I can assure you it is not. It does not replace a conviction or sentence through the criminal justice system, that is a myth. Participation in this process also doesn’t mean a softer sentence. The processes are separate and have no bearing on one another. In fact, what we actually find is offenders say restorative justice is much harder than appearing in court.
What restorative justice does do is bring people together where harm has been caused and look at ways to repair that harm and give victims a voice. To be informed about restorative justice is a victim’s right, under the victim’s code, and allows them to speak about what’s happened to them and how the impact of the crime has affected them.
Restorative justice can be used following any crime where there is a victim. From the most serious offences such as murder and harmful sexual behaviour, domestic abuse and assaults to crimes such as criminal damage, thefts, anti-social behaviour, and public order offences. What we do is risk assess the people, not the crimes. We ask if those involved are in the right place to do this, can we meet their expectations?
We often find that the criminal justice part of proceedings – conviction and sentencing – doesn’t always bring about the closure people feel it might do. It doesn’t make victims feel that it’s been sorted or dealt with. That’s where restorative justice comes in. It gives people a chance to sit down with someone, talk about it and say, ‘that wasn’t okay, and this is how it made me feel’. One of the other aspects we really encourage with restorative justice is reflection – how do you feel about it now? And that’s important not just for the victim but the person who inflicted the harm to think about as well. It gives them a chance to consider how they feel about what they did, which is important to deal with their guilt and shame.
What we do as part of each restorative justice process is very prepared. We meet with people, talk to them about their expectations. What do they need to say, what do they need to hear from the other person, but also what don’t they want to hear. The whole process is voluntary so it means people can really think about what they need from the other person. And that in turn enables us to manage expectations and possibly signpost people in different directions, if perhaps restorative justice isn’t going to be suitable for their needs. This process gives people a voice and can empower victims to take control and recover, which is where it differs from the criminal justice process which focuses on the evidence.
When I speak to victims who have gone through restorative justice – whether that’s face to face or through letters of apology - they say it helps them deal with the thing they can’t put away. They’re able to then have closure, the hangover from what happened has gone. Several victims say they don’t feel scared anymore, they’re not frightened. That person is not impacting their life anymore; this is especially true for victims of traumatic crimes. It helps them set important boundaries with their abuser for instance.
And for some victims, there is a sense of guilt as well. These conversations as part of restorative justice are healing for both parties. And that’s important. When I meet some of the offenders, particularly in prison, they’ve convinced themselves that they’re a bad person and the victim is going to shout at them and just be angry. That’s not what this is about, and by giving them a chance to say sorry, and talk about why and who has been affected, it helps them to feel better about themselves and go forward and make amends. My experience working with those that have caused harm is that they say facing the person they have harmed is the hardest thing they’ve done but the only thing they have done that they feel may have repaired some of that harm. The power of restorative justice is that it can provide that closure, that finality for victims and offenders to be able to move forward from the past.”
Leila Pastecchia: “Restorative justice is a very powerful process. I complete feedback surveys with those that have been through an indirect restorative process, where facilitators have shared written apologies with victims or shuttle communication where victims and offenders have not met face to face but have wanted to share information about what happened and how they feel about it. This is a popular form of restorative justice. Letters give the offender a chance to talk about why they did it and they prove to be a very transformative process for both victims and offenders.
For many of the offenders, they say it is a real milestone in their lives. It makes them stop and reflect and go on to get external help in some cases. So, while we know how important it is for the victims, it really helps those on the other side. Now, it’s just about getting the word out there that when the whole process is followed, it’s unbelievably positive. I’ve never dealt with anyone angry or upset by our service. I would urge people if they’re curious to come and find out more and get the facts about what we do.”
Restorative justice is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan priority to put victims and communities first. My thanks to Jackie and Leila for their compelling descriptions of the impact this process can have. I am in full support of the work being carried out by Restorative Justice Dorset. I want victims to be given the chance to have closure and be able to move on with their lives secure in the knowledge that offenders have understood the impact of their actions. This clearly is a separate and additional process to sentencing and is victim driven.
It is my mission to give victims the opportunity to have their voices heard, and I am proud of the work Restorative Justice Dorset is doing to help make Dorset the safest county.
You can find out more about the work of Restorative Justice Dorset here
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner
WWW Neighbourhood Action Group
Every quarter there is a meeting of organisations where we discuss local problems in respect of our Neighbourhood Co-ordinators living in Wallisdown, Winton West and Ensbury Park.
Please contact your local Neighbourhood Watch Representative.
- Ward Profile for Wallisdown & Winton West Population Wallisdown and Winton West ward has a resident population of 10,324 at the time of the 2011 Census. The latest estimate of the ward’s population, based on the 2014 mid-year estimate, is 10,700. The working age population accounts for nearly 66% of the total population. The average age of residents is 42.9. Average household size is 2.5 people, compared with 2.2 in Bournemouth and 2.4 in England and Wales.
There is a smaller proportion of economically active residents in full-time employment but a larger proportion of part-time employees than the other comparison areas. Unemployment in this ward is lower than for the town.