City residents are being given the chance to discover how bringing together victims of crime and those responsible can help repair the harm done.
Brighton & Hove City Council is holding a special event to explain ‘restorative justice’ and the role it can play in holding an offender accountable for the harm they have caused, and finding a positive way forward.
The event is part of International Restorative Justice Week, with the theme of ‘Strengthening our communities’ – inspired by how people and communities responded positively to events like the Grenfell Tower fire and the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.
Cllr Emma Daniel, chair of the council’s Neighbourhoods, Inclusion, Communities & Equalities Committee, said: “Restorative justice can be a real force for good within the community as it aims to change an offender’s attitudes and behaviours while helping the victims understand and come to terms with what’s happened.
“Many offenders who face their victims, and therefore the stark reality of the damage they have caused, can feel very sorry and remorseful. It also allows the victim to tell an offender how they feel and how they have been affected by that person’s behaviour.”
The event, taking place in Hove Town Hall on today between 11.15am and 4pm, will focus on how restorative practices have been developed in three key areas: neighbourhoods & housing, communities, and young people.
The event begins with a presentation by Lucy Jaffe, director of national restorative justice charity ‘Why Me?’, and Fionnuala Ratcliffe, of the Restorative Justice Council, who will launch the organisation’s new film ‘Voices of Young People’.
There will also be people representing a range of restorative services within the city, including the council, Sussex Police and the Brighton & Hove Independent Mediation Service.
The rest of the event will be an interactive engagement and networking opportunity for anyone who lives or works in the city and is interested in restorative justice.
Cllr Daniel added: “Many of these people are young, first time offenders carrying out low level crime. Although the victims want justice, they also want these young people to be given a chance, and this is why restorative justice is so important.”
The event will be hosted by Larissa Reed, the council’s executive director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing.
In 2015, the council and Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne jointly set up the ‘Restorative City’ project. The aim of the project is to embed restorative practices throughout the city where people may report or seek support related to a crime or conflict.