Restorative Approaches Avon & Somerset (RAAS)

Restorative Approaches Avon & Somerset

Restorative approaches can be used to resolve conflict, build relationships and repair harm by enabling people to communicate effectively and positively. Restorative approaches are used in schools, the criminal justice system, communities and other places.

We offer a free and confidential Restorative Justice service where someone has been harmed by an incident such as a crime, anti-social behaviour, or other wrongdoing. We aim to give the harmed person a voice and the person responsible a chance to repair the harm caused. Sometimes the harm goes both ways. Our service covers Bristol, Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The harmed person can

  • Let the person responsible know how they have been affected.
  • Ask questions about why the person responsible did what they did.
  • Make an agreement about how the person responsible should make amends for what they did.
  • It can empower those harmed by letting them have their say and helping them to move on with their lives. Research shows that 85% of harmed people who took part felt it was a satisfying experience. It can help the person responsible too.
  • In some cases it can reduce the likelihood of them repeating their harming behaviour.

The person responsible can:

  •  Understand how their actions affect others.
  • Be given a chance to apologise to the person they have harmed.
  • Deal with any feelings of guilt and remorse in a constructive.
  • Help them change.
  • Make amends for what they have done in a way that benefits the harmed person.

A restorative approach holds those responsible to account for what they have done.   It helps them understand the real impact of their actions and take responsibility for themselves.  There are various restorative methods which can be used to suit the particular circumstances. These range from a meeting between the person responsible and the harmed person, to larger joint meetings involving family, partner agencies and others involved, or using shuttle dialogue where messages are carried back and forth.

Our service is delivered by a partnership consisting of Bristol Mediation, SARI (Stand against Racism and Inequality) , and the Neighbourhood Justice Team, and is funded by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner.

According to John Braithwaite (2004), restorative justice is:…a process where all stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm. With crime, restorative justice is about the idea that because crime hurts, justice should heal. It follows that conversations with those who have been hurt and with those who have inflicted the harm must be central to the process.

For further information please contact our Casework Coordinator, Paul Holder on  Mobile: 07908 009 048, or 0117 9415879 email: paul.h@restorative-approaches.org 

For further information about how restorative justice is used within Avon and Somerset Police see http://lighthousevictimcare.org/restorative-justice-2/