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National Forum of Restorative Practitioners

Monday, 31 March 2014

A New National Benchmark Standard for Restorative Practice

Restorative Justice brings victims, offenders and communities together to decide on a response to a particular crime, disorder or offending behaviour.It’s about putting victims needs at the centre of the criminal justice system and finding positive solutions to crime by encouraging offenders to face up to their actions.

Restorative Approaches have been used and proven effective for many years in a variety of environments such as law enforcement, schools, prisons, probation, youth-offending and within the community.

Research shows that over 85% of victims of crime are satisfied or very satisfied with Restorative approaches, contrasting strongly with the low numbers satisfied with their treatment in the traditional Criminal Justice System.  It has also been shown to reduce repeat re-offending by over 14%.

The coalition government have openly supported the use of Restorative justice announcing in 2013 at least £29m being made available to Police & Crime Commissioners and charities to help deliver Restorative Justice over the coming three years.

Within the area of Restorative Approaches there has been a historic lack of consistency in how a practitioner may become qualified and how a person or organisation may find and make contact with qualified practitioner.

To help combat this inconsistency the National Forum of Restorative Practitioners will be launched on the 31st March 2014. The aim is to set the benchmark of competence for restorative practitioners and improve the service to individuals harmed by crime or conflict.

The forum will provide practitioners with a route to an accredited BTEC qualification, support and guidance from qualified case supervisors and a central point where organisations can find accredited practitioners.

The launch of this forum will also boost the confidence stakeholders have that the person acting as their restorative practitioner is a qualified professional.

The forum is a joint venture by Restorative Solutions cic and Red Snapper Learning. Both organisations have extensive experience within the sector and have collaborated their knowledge of Restorative approaches and training expertise to develop a new accreditation scheme for practitioners wanting to gain qualified accredited practitioner status.

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, the national lead for Restorative and Community Justice said:

“Restorative Justice is now consistently being used to deal with crime and disputes here in the UK as the evidence demonstrates that it is welcomed by victims seeking to understand why a crime happened to them.

As more and more people have access to Restorative Justice it is important that we secure victim confidence by ensuring that the RJ they experience is facilitated by quality practitioners.

This forum will give a platform for those practitioners to share their experiences and help to further develop their skills. I think that it is very important that those who facilitate

Restorative Justice should be able to demonstrate that they can be trusted to help victims and offenders to gain maximum benefit from the process.

Along with others I am pleased to see that Restorative Solutions are encouraging and helping practitioners to achieve accreditation for their expertise.”

Sir Charles Pollard, Restorative Solutions CIC chairman said:  

“Practitioners have not always been able previously to gain the recognition they deserved. Our new accreditation scheme will make sure that practitioners are supported in achieving accreditation. We are setting in place a benchmark of quality for restorative practice”

This accreditation scheme will provide the judiciary, Police and Crime Commissioners and those who commission or provide restorative services with confidence in the practitioners they work with. Most importantly, achieving accreditation will enable practitioners to achieve the best possible outcomes for victims in a safe and professional way.

The accreditation scheme will enable practitioners to work confidently in achieving even better results and embed the use of restorative approaches across the public, voluntary and private sector.

To find out more about the National Forum of Restorative Practitioners or to register as a practitioner, please visitwww.restorativesolutionsforum.org.uk call 0203 119 3306 or email learning@cspacademy.ac.uk