VICTIMS of crime in North Yorkshire will soon face offenders, under a new restorative justice programme.

Funding of £270,000 from the Ministry of Justice has been announced for an 18-month contract, open to local and national organisations, to oversee victims telling offenders about the effects of the crime, and to agree reparations for damage done.

MoJ research claims the scheme helps victims and helps to reduce reoffending, with unpaid community work and treatment for substance addiction frequent outcomes of the programme, and a drop in reoffending of up to 27 per cent.

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said the use of restorative justice in North Yorkshire had been "encouraging, but patchy", to date, but the results showed it was effective in reducing reoffending.

She said: "Restorative justice is a little understood concept for many people, but in a recent survey I have conducted with the North Yorkshire public, 85 per cent of those asked said that they agreed that convicted criminals should be made to explain their actions to their victims at the victim’s request.

"Restorative justice will give victims the chance to tell offenders about the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions, and receive a personal apology. Meeting and challenging the person who committed a crime against them can help recovery and help people to feel safe again. Indeed, when victims choose to meet the offender face to face, up to 85% say they are satisfied with the outcome. As well as being effective in reducing reoffending, restorative justice also helps offenders understand the real impact of their actions, take responsibility for them and make amends."

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