Restorative Justice (RJ) is a process designed to facilitate contact between a victim and perpetrator in a safe environment. It offers the victim a ‘voice’ and the opportunity to have their say and explain the impact the offenders’ actions may have had on their lives.

RJ also holds the perpetrator to account, helps them to understand the damage they may have caused and gives them a chance to take responsibility for their actions.

RJ is completely voluntary and only takes place if both the victim and perpetrator consent to take part. A full suitability assessment will also be conducted by a trained RJ facilitator. A lot of preparation work takes place before a victim and offender meet at a Neighbourhood Restorative Justice Panels (NRJP) conference and Volunteer Facilitators support both the victim and perpetrator before, during and after the conference.

Councillor Iain Roberts, Deputy Leader of Stockport, said: “The Council’s Youth Offending Service, the Police and the Probation Service have been facilitating RJ approaches in Stockport for several years. They continue to follow this process to deal with various problems ranging from youths causing low level community nuisance to adult offenders committing serious offences which result in a custodial sentence. The RJ process has been highly successful and can reduce the frequency of reoffending by up to 14%.”

As part of International Restorative Justice Week the Safer Stockport Partnership  will highlight a relatively new approach to NRJP by promoting the ‘SoRT-IT’ service (Solve, Resolve & Talk it Through). SoRT-IT has dealt with more than 55 NRJP referrals since April 2013 and has evidenced a Victim satisfaction rate of over 87%.

SoRT-IT will be conducting a recruitment exercise during this period designed to increase current volunteer resources to facilitate additional NRJP conferences as demand for the service increases.