A scheme which brings victims and offenders together to agree appropriate punishment and reparation is set to be re-launched in Wirral this month.
The Wirral Neighbourhood Justice Scheme is being taken over by the national charity Redeeming Our Communities (ROC), and is being re-launched as ROC Restore at an event in Birkenhead next week.
The scheme has already proved effective in dealing with low level crime, anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes through a process called restorative justice. Through this process, victims and perpetrators are brought together in a meeting where volunteers use restorative approaches to agree on a course of action for those involved.
Councillor George Davies, Wirral’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Engagement, said: “The restorative justice approach is proven to reduce offenders committing further offences, stop conflict from escalating and reduce the harm caused to victims. It also gives victims of crime or on the receiving end of anti-social behaviour a sense of closure.”
More than 40 referrals have been made into the Neighbourhood Justice Scheme in Wirral to date, of which 25 have been successfully resolved.
One of these was a dispute between neighbours. One lady was struggling to adjust to the noises of a young family who had recently moved in next door, while the family was affected by the noise of her dogs. The Police were brought in when the lady expressed her frustration on social media and made a comment which the couple found extremely distressing.
At the face to face meeting, each side was able to explain their feelings and perceptions about the situation. The lady apologised unconditionally for her social media posting, which was accepted by the couple, who in turn recognised how the changes had affected her and offered to make some adjustments themselves. By the end, both sides felt they understood each other, were happy to reach an agreement and even shared a cup to tea before leaving together quite amicably.
Redeeming Our Communities has been working towards safer, kinder communities in partnership with other agencies and faith groups since 2004.
This will be the ninth ROC Restore project nationally and will be undertaken in partnership with Safer Wirral and the Police. The opportunity is now being given to join the team of volunteer facilitators by undertaking training on three Saturdays in November and more details will be given at the ROC Conversation event.
The ROC Conversation is to be held on Thursday 13th October 7 – 9pm at the Wirral Christian Centre, Woodchurch Road in Birkenhead CH41 2UE. It is open to everyone from the Wirral and will draw together those from the local community, including Police and Fire services, the local Council and churches, to discuss ways of working together for the good of the community.
Please contact Andy Bell at ROC for further information on 0161 393 4511, or book in on Eventbrite.