‘Turning point on road to rehabilitation’: GMP show support for restorative justice

Greater Manchester Police has shown its support for International Restorative Justice Week by revealing the story of how racial abuse victims became friends with their abusers.

Abdele, a woman originally from Somalia, and her son who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, were constantly racially abused by youths before a face to face chat built bridges.

This tale is one of many success stories that have come from the face to face initiative, with Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan praising restorative justice’s help in recovery from crime.

“Restorative justice continues to go from strength to strength for Greater Manchester Police,” he said.

“We are committed to supporting victims of crime in any way that we can and restorative justice gives them the chance to ask questions of the person who carried out the act.

“It also helps them come to terms with why they have become the unfortunate victim of crime, something that goes a long way in their recovery.

“It helps offenders better understand the consequences of their actions and reduces re-offending levels.

“Showing people how their actions change the victims lives can be a real wake up call for offenders and can act as a turning point on their road to rehabilitation.”

There is no better of example of restorative justice in action than Abdele’s story.

She contacted GMP after being constantly racially abused by at least six youths, aged 12-15, for some time.

The abuse also included snowballs being thrown at her son or their home and knocking on her door before running away shouting abuse.

With the help of the community, officers identified and located all six of the offenders but Abdele said she did not want them to `get into trouble’ and did not want to go to court.

She simply wanted them to understand the impact of their actions and stop what they were doing.

All six offenders were invited to sit, in turn, face to face with Abdele where she told them how their actions had affected their day to day living and caused anxiety and fear.

Each boy listened, mostly with a bowed head, then at the conclusion of Abdele’s talk an apology and a promise not to carry on the antisocial behaviour was always forthcoming.

Months on, the abuse has stopped completely and Abdele and her son freely enjoy their home and community.

The offenders and Abdele often say hello to each other and live together in harmony.

This case is one of many occasions that Greater Manchester have used restorative justice to deal with thousands of crimes over the last 12 months.

In addition, there have been 129 referrals to Greater Manchester Police’s Neighbourhood Resolution Panels that’s almost double the previous year’s 55 referrals.

2015’s UK contingent for International Restorative Justice Week is led by the Ministry of Justice and its campaign ‘I’ve got to say something’.

This campaign highlights how restorative justice can help empower victims, give them a voice and help them to move forward with their lives.

Image courtesy of CentralMichiganRJ, via Youtube, with thanks

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