Woman from Darlaston meets man who assaulted and robbed her at cashpoint
“It's so easy to make the offender the villain. It's nice to go in there and understand they aren't evil. I came out of there and I just felt so good."
Those are the words of a woman from the Black Country who found closure after meeting the man who assaulted and robbed her at an ATM.
The victim, known only as Lisa, met her attacker in prison after she was hit over the head by a glass bottle as she withdrew cash in Darlaston.
She tried to fight off the attacker but was left scared and frightened by the incident, but was later offered the chance to confront him about it.
Lisa said: "I think I got a lot more from this than I would have done from being in court. It helped me understand why it happened and the circumstances around the person who did it.
"It's so easy to make the offender the villain. It's nice to go in there and understand they aren't evil. I came out of there, and I just felt so good. When it happened, I cannot fault the police, but the fact that you've got this service that supports victims in making something good come from a bad situation is just fantastic and it's good knowing we aren't just locking people up and punishing them, but are helping to change their ways too."
The Restorative Justice initiative was funded by the region's Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster in a bid to reduce re-offending rates across the region, and was arranged by Remedi.
The scheme aims to help victims move on with their lives and ensure offenders change their ways and is one of many designed to tackle the issue. But they need "adequate" funding to properly continue, the PCC has said.
Mr Foster said: "I’m calling on the government to urgently fund tough initiatives that have the power to stop criminals offending. We must bring offenders to justice for their crimes, but simply locking them up doesn’t work enough of the time.
"We also need to tackle their underlying behaviour and to do that the government is going to need to produce adequate funding."
Chris Hickin, assistant director at Remedi, said: "Restorative justice works because it holds offenders to account for the damage their actions have caused.
“It can be common for offenders to justify their crimes with excuses, that becomes harder to do when the actual victim is sat across a table from them.
“Restorative justice at its core is a simple process. The victim meets the offender to discuss the impact of the offence. But in order to do it well, we have to prepare both sides fully in advance of any meeting so that we can ensure the safety of all participants and to maximise the potential of the meeting, helping the victim cope and recover and for the offender to fully understand the impact of their actions."