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RJ and Policing

We are proud to work in partnership with Cleveland Police to promote the offer of Restorative Justice to anyone affected by crime. RJ is an available resource that we encourage Officers to utilise, in order to best support victims and reduce the likelihood of further offending. The below guide, compiled by the Restorative Justice Council provides useful guidance in outlining how RJ can work in practice, as an integral part of modern day policing.

“It is clear that, done well, restorative justice cannot be done to (or even for) victims, it must be done with them

Garry Shewan, ACPO Lead on Restorative and Community Justice

Challenging the Myths

Myth RJ is an out of court disposal, intended for juvenile +

RJ can be used as part of an out of court disposal or at any stage in the criminal justice process, either alongside a prosecution or post-sentence.

“We have had a very successful case with Divert and Restorative Cleveland working together, resulting in several positive outcomes for the injured party and the offender.  Both were very satisfied with the service received, which displayed excellent partnership working. 

RJ should be considered for every investigation that Officers deal with and subsequently referred for consideration to Restorative Cleveland. This is not just an opportunity for an out of court disposal to be pursued but also to be used in the context of complex investigations. Such investigations and referrals will be fully supported.

An early referral means the case can be dealt with promptly by Restorative Cleveland, with the crime transferred over to my job queue on Niche and the VCOP requirements managed accordingly.”

Inspector Jo Wright

Myth RJ means the offender will get a lesser sentence+

The RJ process should not be seen as a way to minimise responsibility, reduce sentence, avoid prosecution or affect the outcome of a parole application.

‘’ RJ is an evidenced based approach to ensure the voice of the victim is heard and reduce offending longer term. It is certainly not a soft option and not a process that leads to reduced penalties or reduced sanctions against the offender(s).  Importantly, it does improve victim satisfaction and local results show this.’’

ACC Jason Harwin

Myth It's a soft option+

Offenders are used to ‘taking punishment’ but this is not the same as taking responsibility for their actions and the true impact of this on their victims. Offenders frequently state they found the process of going through restorative justice and communicating their victim, much harder than having to attend Court.

“RJ is often seen as a ‘soft option’, this isn’t the case.  RJ can be used alongside any case disposal, for example someone could be charged with an offence, but still go through the RJ process.  It’s all about identifying what the victim’s wishes are.  What do they want to achieve from this?  If, after taking everything into consideration, the case is suitable for RJ, this won’t have any bearing what so ever on case disposal outcome.  RJ can be used and has been used in the most serious cases, even murder.”

Inspector Paul Brodie

Myth RJ won't work with persistent and prolific offeners+

RJ can be equally as effective with cases regarded as being complex and sensitive. As such, participating offenders may be prolific, monitored by integrated offender management teams and deemed at risk of continued offending.

“RJ can and should be considered in all circumstances and there is a common misconception that it is not suitable in cases where the offence is a serious one, or it involves a persistent offender, even those that are managed by ‘Integrated Offender Management (IOM)’. The key consideration is exactly that, that each case is considered for RJ!”

Detective Chief Superintendent Jon Green.

Myth The outcome for hate crime is always prosecution of the offender+

“Solely putting hate crime offenders into custody is unlikely to resolve the harm caused or stop the prejudice that caused the crime. Used alongside any punishment, Restorative Justice has the potential to really identify and address the harms caused. This is because it lets victims take back control by telling their story and having their voices heard. The reality of victims’ suffering is brought into focus for offenders. This allows them to see the humanity in their victims and helping them to change.”

Lucy Jaffé, Director, Why Me?


“As Police officers we like to look at the evidence and examine ‘what truth is it telling us’. 5 years of research tells us that the majority of victims of Hate Crime do not want to go to court and want a Restorative outcome. In addition, the evidence shows us that there is less reoffending committed by those offenders who have been dealt with by a Restorative Justice approach than a normal court disposal. This is why as a priority for this Hate Crime action plan, to prevent further offences and to produce higher levels of victim satisfaction we are seeking to increase the number of crimes that are dealt with by a Restorative disposal.”

Sergeant Jeff Parkes

Myth Domestic abuse is not suitable for RJ+

The use of RJ in DV cases, will not re-victimise or re-traumatise the victim and will adopt a partnership approach with the victim being involved with, and at the centre of, all decision-making.  RJ Practitioners will emphasise that the focus of the intervention is on communication between the victim and offender, enabling the victim to share how they have been affected and to offer the opportunity to ask questions.  Restoring relationships is not a principle of RJ.

“Restorative Justice can now be considered in the context of domestic abuse, on a case by case basis. For years we have focused on positive outcomes for domestic abuse cases, in terms of a charge and conviction, and that will remain with many cases. However, there are many survivors and victims of domestic abuse who don’t want to go through a court process where restorative justice will enable them to change their lives for the better.  All cases are subject to thorough risk assessment and any decision-making will be undertaken, within a multi-disciplinary approach.  This is key in allowing the victim the opportunity to have their voice heard, whilst ensuring appropriate safeguarding of the victim and risk management of the offender.”

Detective Inspector Darren Birkett

This is YOUR Restorative Cleveland

RJ should be accessible to all crime victims, at any stage during the Criminal Justice System; inclusive of offence type.

Our vision for a truly Restorative Cleveland recognises several key contact points, where the opportunity for victims and offenders to communicate can be offered, dependant upon the personal preference of each.

Working with our partner agencies, we aim to offer a high quality restorative service across Cleveland.

  • #thisisYOURrestorativecleveland
  • #workingtogetherrepairingharm