A victim of arson has explained how receiving a letter from their offender made them feel ‘safer’.
It comes after a youth set fire to a rose bush outside a house in North Nottinghamshire in May 2022.
The 15-year-old boy received an out-of-court disposal for the offence and was referred to restorative justice charity, Remedi, a service part-funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner and part by Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service to offer restorative justice to victims and organise community reparation.
Restorative justice is a process that allows a channel of communication between a victim and the young person who has offended.
In Nottinghamshire, Remedi works specifically with young people in the youth justice system.
The rapport they build between the two parties involved in the crime aims to allow a positive and effective solution for both sides.
The communication can be meeting the offender face-to-face, written letters, recorded interviews, or videos.
The type of contact is decided on by the needs and wants of the victim by fully trained facilitators who prepare and support them throughout the process.
In this case, the youth who had set fire to bushes was remorseful and wanted to repair the damage caused.
The victim was apprehensive of having direct communication with the offender, so instead agreed upon an indirect route.
The young person sent a letter of explanation to the victim and gifted them a rose bush (pictured), which he had planted in a pot for them to keep.
The victim said: “We had it set in our minds that when we got the letter, we would draw a line under it and hopefully move on.
“The incident really affected us but after seeing the letter and the rose bush, we feel safer knowing that he won’t do it again and he is remorseful for his actions.”
Between April 2021-2022, a total of 94% of victims supported by Remedi said restorative justice helped them cope and recover.
Young people who have caused harm to victims may be required to undertake community reparation.
Remedi arrange this, and young people can partake in a range of creative activities to help within their local communities, whether this is working with local partnerships on projects or thematic pieces of work such as hate crime and knife crime.
The work encourages the young people to learn new skills with outcomes that benefit the local community. Examples of this include a Wellington boot storage which was created for a local SureStart centre.
Ninety-seven percent of young people who have participated in restorative justice said they felt as though they had given something back to their community.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire Caroline Henry has recognised the importance of Remedi and its work.
Commissioner Henry said: “The work Remedi undertakes to support children and young people in Nottinghamshire requires incredible resilience and hard work but the results can make a big difference to victims lives, while also helping offenders learn from their mistakes.
“Restorative justice isn’t always the appropriate route to go down, but when both the victim and the offender agree it can result in a really positive outcome for both sides and prevent lengthy and costly court proceedings.”
Earlier this year, Commissioner Henry awarded Remedi the Make Notts Safe - Respond Award, which highlighted organisations that went above and beyond for their communities.
It was nominated by the Violence Reduction Unit for its adaptable and resilient approach to delivery during Covid, which increased its reach with young people.
Cherry Triston, manager at Remedi, said: “Remedi is incredibly proud of its work undertaken within Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service.
"All consenting victims of youth crime are contacted and offered a voice in the process.
"Where both parties wish to participate, communication is facilitated between victim and young people.
"Our team works hard to ensure victims are aware of their rights under the victim code, and we are proud of our high level of victim engagement. Signposting and support for the victims that we speak to, and their family, is important to us.
“Nottinghamshire Youth Justice Service has threaded its restorative justice approach throughout pre-court and post-court work, with the victim’s voice being considered as part of work undertaken with young people.
"Our collaborative approach is creative, restorative and built around the individual needs of our service users, victims and young people.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire is responsible for commissioning services around the county to support the objectives of the Make Notts Safe plan. These include responding efficiently and effectively to local need, preventing crime and supporting victims and survivors.
Remedi is just one of the third sector organisations across the county funded by the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner to help Make Notts Safe.
Posted on Friday 23rd September 2022