Focus on: Staffordshire RJ Victim Support

VSlogoEmpowering-Communities’ Heather Ette spoke to Libby Nock, Victim Support Restorative Justice Co-ordinator, Staffordshire

HE: What is the main role of RJ in Staffordshire, is it a police led programme and how does it make a difference to victims, perpetrators and society as a whole?

LN: RJ is about bringing victims and offenders into communication, to discuss the impact the crime has had on the parties involved and ultimately to put the victim at the heart of the justice process. It aims to give them a voice in a system which they can often be marginalised from. The NJP project is a partnership project between Staffordshire Police and Victim Support. It makes a difference because it increases understanding between parties, it allows the offender to take responsibility for their actions and allows the victim to put a face to the crime and hopefully gain some closure. The NJP project aim is to deliver ‘community justice’ i.e. justice that is delivered by and transparent to the local community.

HE: Is having the RJ process in place helping to reduce re-offending in Staffordshire and do you have any evidence of how it helps victims? Is there a cost factor related to any efficiencies created through the RJ process and how does E-CINS fit into this?

The project is still new and on-going evaluation is taking place. The results so far in terms of reducing re-offending and increasing victim satisfaction are extremely positive. As e-cins is a straightforward system it doesn’t overcomplicate the referral process. Setting up a project is always a busy time therefore a system that is not overly cost or time intensive is a positive.

HE: How is your office set up, are you co-located with other agencies/police/probation etc. or do you work separately and share information via E-CINS? What agencies, organisations and support groups do you work with as part of your RJ team and are they all accessing E-CINS?

LN: My main office is with the charity I am employed by i.e. Victim Support but I do access the police stations across the county and work from them when appropriate. We share info on ecins with the local authority.

HE: How many profiles (victims and perpetrators) are you currently dealing with via E-CINS and is this growing on a daily/weekly basis?

LN: Currently I have around 40 profiles on e-cins. This has increased as referrals to the project have increased.

HE: How long have you been using E-CINS for RJ and how does it help you?

LN: E-CINS has been used within the project for around a year. E-CINS helps with the job because it is a quick and easy way to receive referrals as well as keep partnership agencies updated about case progress. E-CINS is an extremely effective way of sharing information securely. As the project expands the volunteer base that I manage will be added to the e-cins system. As I manage 20 volunteers, E-CINS will be an effective way of managing those individuals and their workloads, as well as helping with case allocation and ensuring quality standards are being met within service delivery.

HE: What difference is E-CINS making to your job, and how does it assist you in helping your clients?

E-CINS does have cost and time benefits to it i.e. it is quick and easy to use and allows you to manage communications with a range of individuals and agencies. This allows more time to be spent focused on service delivery. Once a wider range of agencies and individuals implement the system its value to the project will increase as it will make receiving referrals from different agencies easier.

HE: Do you have an example of a case where E-CINS has assisted with the RJ process and benefited you and your clients?

It’s particularly useful in updating RJ Champions or SPOC’s about an outcome of case and also if the referring officer has outlined any vulnerability factors with a specific case.

“Being a new project a referral system needed to be devised that was straightforward, cost effective and efficient to use, in being all of those things E-CINS has proved invaluable to the NJP project.”Libby Nock, Victim Support RJ Coordinator, Staffordshire