She specialises in bringing offenders and their victims together through a process called restorative justice (RJ). Now she’s spreading the word across the pond.
Becky Beard, Manager of Restorative Gloucestershire which ‘brings people together to put things right’, will spend 10 days in Toronto, Canada extolling the virtues of RJ and studying how they do it differently there.
She will share crime fighting strategies with academics from South Africa, Toronto University and the University of Gloucestershire and shadow the local police to see how it’s put into practice.
Becky, 29, said, “In Canada they use RJ in a completely different way. They also have a process called ‘Circles’, a tribal method that’s been going on for thousands of years.
“It’s done through communities. When there’s been conflict in a community they sit in a circle and talk the problem through. It’s like an RJ conference when we bring the offender and victim together but can be more complicated because there are a lot more people.
“I want to see if we can learn anything that might help resolve issues around anti-social behaviour in our communities – as well as explaining to them the benefits of how RJ works here”.
Restorative Gloucestershire is a group of statutory, non-statutory and voluntary sector partners that work together with the aim of offering all people who come into contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) – or who come into conflict in the community – an opportunity to face up to what’s happened and the implications of what they’ve done. It has won a number of awards for its pioneering work in the community.
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who provides funding to Restorative Gloucestershire said: “Restorative Justice is a key element of the Police and Crime Plan. It plays an important role in getting satisfaction for victims and rehabilitating offenders.
“Restorative Gloucestershire is already regarded as a leader in the UK. We can be proud that it’s attracting international interest as well”.