Crime against a business is not a victimless crime. It can impact the business owner both financially and emotionally, it can impact employees who may have been there when the crime occurred and it can also impact customers.
The first thing to remember if your business experiences a crime is to report it to the police. If the crime is in progress the most important thing to think about is safety for all those at the scene. Do nothing that would provoke the offender, if possible, get to a safe place and only if safe to do so dial 999.
However, once the crime has been reported and police have identified the offender, many victims, including victims of retail crimes, feel that the criminal justice system does not give them a chance to get involved. That’s where Restorative Justice can play an important role.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice brings those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
It can take place at any stage of the criminal justice process including after conviction and it can also form an integral part of any sentencing disposal, especially with children and young people.
What does it look like?
Restorative justice often involves a conference, where a victim meets the offender face to face. You will be supported by a trained facilitator throughout the process and will not meet the offender alone. Sometimes, when a face to face meeting is not the best way forward, the victim and offender will communicate via letters, recorded interviews or video instead. Depending upon the circumstances someone may attend the meeting to represent you.
What are the benefits?
Restorative justice puts victims at the heart of the justice process – giving victims a chance to ask the offender any questions and get anything that they want to say about the impact of the crime off their chest. Government research demonstrates that 85% of victims who take part in restorative justice find the process helpful. For many victims meeting the person who has harmed them can be a huge step in moving forward in recovering from the crime. Restorative justice also helps to cut crime - research shows that it reduces reoffending by 14%.
How to access Restorative Justice
Depending on what is available where you live, you may be able to access restorative justice by asking your victim liaison officer or witness care officer, if you have one. In England and Wales, you will have a local Police and Crime Commissioner, who may be able to help you get in touch with your nearest restorative justice service provider. Find your local PCC contact.
Alternatively, there are a number of services across England and Wales which can help victims access restorative justice. Find an RJ provider in your area
You can also download our Restorative Justice via this link: Restorative Justice Guide