VICTIMS of serious crime will be given the chance to quiz and get answers from their offender as a new scheme is set to be launched.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson is introducing a restorative justice initiative to help victims recover and get closure as well as to help change offenders’ behaviour.
It will only be offered when the offender has been convicted and the process is completely voluntary. The offender must also agree to be involved.
A £1.4million investment from the PCC will deliver restorative justice over three years.
The PCC says the money can’t be spent employing more police officers and instead has got to be used to pay for services which help victims.
The scheme has been welcomed by Janika Cartwright, who was stabbed eight timed whilst she was pregnant by her boyfriend in 2013.
She was attacked by Leon Harrison with a knife as she sat in her car outside a Stirchley gym with her nine-month-old baby asleep on the back seat.
Harrison was later convicted and is serving a seven-and-a-half year jail sentence for attempted murder.
Following the attack, Janika took part in a restorative justice programme.
Janika said: “Being stabbed repeatedly by the man I loved was the most terrifying experience. I thought I was going to die.
“I was scared for my own life, but being pregnant and with my nine-month-old baby on the back seat I couldn’t run. All I could do was kick and punch to defend myself and scream for someone to help me.
“You hear about these kind of attacks, but you never think it will happen to you.
“As I recovered from open heart surgery I soon realised the wounds from that afternoon weren’t just physical.
“That is why I fought to get the answers from the person who tried to kill me.
“I heard about a process called restorative justice and asked if it was something I could be involved with. I felt it would help me come to terms with what had happened.
“Eventually, I was able to go to the prison where my ex-partner was being held and meet him face to face to ask all the questions that had plagued my mind since the day he attacked me.
“Restorative justice gave me some closure. Without it I can’t imagine how I would have come to terms with what happened.”
Mr Jamieson, said: “Once I heard how Janika was able to move on with her life after engaging in a programme of restorative justice I knew I needed to make the service available to victims right across the West Midlands police force area.
“Restorative justice is an initiative that is proven to reduce harm and help people put a traumatic incident behind them. It also helps prevent re-offending by ensuring those guilty of a crime see the harm caused.
“It is vital people have access to restorative justice no matter where in our region they live.”
The organisation who will provide the restorative justice service for the West Midlands is Remedi.