VICTIMS of crime in Greater Manchester have spoken out on the benefits of being reunited with the offender.

The Greater Manchester Restorative Justice Service allows victims of crime to be in contact with the offender and share how the crime has affected them.

Offenders are also given the opportunity to apologise and make amends. The service is delivered by Remedi and ROC and is commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police and other agencies.

In 2021 alone, 319 victims of crime were contacted and offered support and 253 victims accepted the offer.

Ahead of restorative justice week, which runs from 21 to 28 November, the deputy mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes heard first-hand from victims of crime who have used the service a virtual event.

One victim was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her mother’s ex-partner. The victim’s mother completed restorative justice with the offender via a face-to-face meeting, following his conviction.

They said: “I was offered restorative justice from the very beginning and as time went on it became something I wanted to do. The process was really good for me, I was supported throughout and every question I had was answered.

“We were able to get a face-to-face meeting, which I needed to get closure, face it and move on. It has also helped my daughter as she has seen how much it has helped me.”

Amy Tosh was a victim of armed robbery – the offender entered the bank where Amy worked and threatened staff with a knife, stealing around £750.

Amy said: “Restorative justice wasn’t something I had really thought about but when I heard that the offender wanted to say sorry I agreed to a phone call.

“I got a lot from it, I enjoyed having the talk, it healed things that I didn’t think were there anymore and I could feel that they were sincere. I hadn’t been back in the bank since the incident happened but I have been back in since the phone call.”

Restorative justice can be done at any stage of the criminal justice process if both the victim and offender agree to take part. It takes place in a safe and controlled environment and does not always have to be face-to-face.

For more information on the service visit the GM victim’s website.