Victims of financial fraud in London can now access help to deal with the emotional aftermath of resolved crimes from Calm Mediation’s restorative justice service.
Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, we have been offering restorative justice to victims of serious crimes such as assault, robbery and murder since 2005 but have recently added financial fraud to the list in view of the growing scale and impact of this crime.
Latest figures* showed that there were over a million cases of financial fraud in the UK in the first six months of 2016 – a rise of 53% on the previous year, fuelled by a sharp rise in deception scams on consumers.
As well as losing often substantial sums of money, victims are commonly left feeling powerless, foolish and angry that they had been deceived, despite many such crimes being rapid, sophisticated and difficult to spot. Restorative justice aims to enable communication between the victims and perpetrators of these crimes, with the possibility of positive outcomes for both.
Calm Mediation’s restorative justice co-ordinator Fiona Turner explains: “We are working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to offer victims of fraud crimes, where the perpetrator has been convicted and sentenced, the opportunity to participate in restorative justice.
“Often victims of these crimes are going over and over events in their minds, questioning or blaming themselves and finding it difficult to move forward, so simply talking about the offence to our experienced facilitators who are trained to listen can be beneficial. Some victims want communication with the perpetrator – to tell them how the crime has affected them or to get answers about the crime – and we work to arrange that where possible, either face to face or in writing.”
Restorative justice offers the opportunity to repair the harm caused by crime and has been shown to reduce re-offending rates. It can help victims to come to terms with what happened by giving them a voice and gaining peace of mind, and enables perpetrators to face up to the consequences of their actions and the distress caused by their actions.
Fiona continues: “The restorative justice process is voluntary for both sides. Convicted offenders who agree to participate often say to us ‘I did this and want to apologise to the victim. I know an apology isn’t enough but I owe it to them to answer their questions.’ Some victims say ‘I want to meet the person who did it because I want them to know what it felt like for me, I don’t want to this to happen to someone else.”
Calm Mediation’s restorative justice service is accredited by the Restorative Justice Council. For further information see our restorative justice page, or to discuss how we may be able to help contact Calm Mediation at [email protected] or tel: 0207603 4014.
*Financial fraud figures: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/sep/20/soars-53per-cent-in-year-as-scammers-get-sophisticated