VICTIMS of crime are being encouraged to come face to face perpetrators under a scheme launched by police.
The £300,000-a-year scheme in Hampshire, run by the crime commissioner’s office, is already dealing with 50 cases, such as serious assaults and manslaughter.
Yesterday police met firefighters, councils and Citizen’s Advice bureaux in Portsmouth Guildhall to urge them to refer people.
Speaking to The News, a victim of a serious assault who visited her attacker in jail said: ‘He broke down and cried.
He said “I’d rather you punch me in the face, I can’t accept you’ve forgiven me”.
‘This scheme makes you feel like you’re standing in your own power again.’
Around 50 cases have been worked on since the programme launched in April, with more on the way.
Jacob Dunne, 24, yesterday spoke at the conference after he killed a 28-year-old Southampton paramedic in 2011 with a single punch in Nottingham.
But when he was released after 14 months of a 30-month term for manslaughter, which he admitted, the victim’s parents asked to meet him.
They wanted to know various things, including if he had ever been trained in boxing or martial arts.
Jacob, who is not part of the Hampshire scheme, said: ‘My thoughts were of shock because I had never thought about anybody else. I had felt like I was a victim.
‘I decided that the least I could do was answer their questions.
‘It was extremely difficult meeting them, but hearing the real impact my offence had on them made me realise I wasn’t the one hard done by.’
The victim James Hodgkinson’s parents met him and urged him to improve after he apologised.
Jacob is now studying for a degree in criminology.
And this is what the restorative justice scheme is about.
Tony Walker is a director of Restorative Solutions, a community interest company that has been contracted by Hampshire’s crime commissioner, Michael Lane.
‘Ultimately we’re aiming to make Hampshire safer and to allow victims to have a voice,’ Mr Walker said.
‘But also it’s a process to allow perpetrators to move on to accept what they’ve done to change their behaviour and reintegrate in society.’
It is open to people across Hampshire, where there has been an out-of-court disposal or conviction.