More volunteers needed for restorative justice scheme

The Advertiser Series: 'GET INVOLVED': Council leader Bill Dixon 'GET INVOLVED': Council leader Bill Dixon

A DARLINGTON scheme that tackles conflict and anti-social behaviour is seeking volunteers in the area.

Launched in November, the work of the Neighbourhood Resolution Scheme is almost entirely carried out by specially trained community volunteers, with cases dealt with using the innovative restorative justice approach.

Volunteers would train to become a community restorative facilitator and would work to support victims, mentoring offenders and/or mediating conflict situations.

Free ‘restorative mediation’ training is being offered to new volunteers who join the scheme this autumn.

Restorative facilitators visit and carefully prepare each party, whether it is a victim and an offender, or a pair of warring neighbours – before giving them the opportunity to meet in a safe environment to agree a way forward.

Victims are given the right to confront their offender, to explain the impact of their actions and suggest how amends might be made in the presence of a facilitator.

Volunteer Stephen Twist has viewed how the process looks to open offenders’ eyes to the impact of their behaviour and often leads to a genuine commitment to change their ways.

He said: “Letting go of a damaging conflict can be really empowering for the parties, freeing them to get on with their lives.

“The process is fascinating and rarely fails.”

Eight months since the scheme’s launch, 165 residents have used the service to resolve a conflict or crime matter, with 60 per cent of cases resulting in a successful resolution - rising to almost 100 per cent where clients have met face-to-face.

Council leader Bill Dixon has been keen to emphasise the benefits to the wider community of the scheme.

He said: “This is a brilliant example of how a community can work together to solve its problems.

“I urge people to get involved and get more information – there is benefit on both sides - both to the volunteer in the form of new skills and experience and to the people and the community they will be helping.”

There will be an opportunity to meet existing volunteers on Thursday (July 24), from 7pm to 8pm, in the Dolphin Centre.

Call 01325 346826 or email nradmin@darlington.gov.uk for a free information pack.

Comments (4)

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4:15pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

I can't understand how this works. This is an example from personal experience.

So I have a neighbour who likes to get a number of people around get drunk, take drugs and play loud music two nights a week from 6pm to 9am. I ask them to keep the noise down and they ignore me. The police come and ask them to turn the noise down but they know they have no power to enforce anything. The council, even though they are responsible for controlling noise, true to form are worse than useless. I end up sleeping in the car or on the floor at work.

So without fail they are saying they can stop such behaviour. Please explain how you do it?
I can't understand how this works. This is an example from personal experience. So I have a neighbour who likes to get a number of people around get drunk, take drugs and play loud music two nights a week from 6pm to 9am. I ask them to keep the noise down and they ignore me. The police come and ask them to turn the noise down but they know they have no power to enforce anything. The council, even though they are responsible for controlling noise, true to form are worse than useless. I end up sleeping in the car or on the floor at work. So without fail they are saying they can stop such behaviour. Please explain how you do it? Homshaw1
  • Score: 3

7:24pm Mon 21 Jul 14

JJ2000 says...

Spend a night in the premier inn, and at 9 the next morning when your ignorant neighbors are sleeping, take the opportunity to don ear protectors and use a jackhammer on a tiny, pointless portion of your drive, and drill constantly, until 6pm.
Little help, but it's a little karma
Spend a night in the premier inn, and at 9 the next morning when your ignorant neighbors are sleeping, take the opportunity to don ear protectors and use a jackhammer on a tiny, pointless portion of your drive, and drill constantly, until 6pm. Little help, but it's a little karma JJ2000
  • Score: 3

7:39am Tue 22 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

JJ2000 wrote:
Spend a night in the premier inn, and at 9 the next morning when your ignorant neighbors are sleeping, take the opportunity to don ear protectors and use a jackhammer on a tiny, pointless portion of your drive, and drill constantly, until 6pm.
Little help, but it's a little karma
I didn't use a jackhammer but it was the only way to resolve the situation. The women had a child that went to the father two nights a week and that's when the trouble started. A few nights of loud music when the child returned was all that worked.

I just feel sorry for older more vulnerable people who don't complain. Their lives must be hell especially if they have no where to escape to.

If this scheme works great but I can,t believe it does.
[quote][p][bold]JJ2000[/bold] wrote: Spend a night in the premier inn, and at 9 the next morning when your ignorant neighbors are sleeping, take the opportunity to don ear protectors and use a jackhammer on a tiny, pointless portion of your drive, and drill constantly, until 6pm. Little help, but it's a little karma[/p][/quote]I didn't use a jackhammer but it was the only way to resolve the situation. The women had a child that went to the father two nights a week and that's when the trouble started. A few nights of loud music when the child returned was all that worked. I just feel sorry for older more vulnerable people who don't complain. Their lives must be hell especially if they have no where to escape to. If this scheme works great but I can,t believe it does. Homshaw1
  • Score: 3

7:50am Tue 22 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

Its the cheap option for the Police and the Council, sod the innocent and the sufferers, The Law is the Law so why Is the Law being Ignored by these sort of schemes give the public the Justice they deserve not slapping their wrists and giving them cautions, its not good enough what are we doing to deserve clowns like Mr Dixon backing this sort of codswallop?
Its the cheap option for the Police and the Council, sod the innocent and the sufferers, The Law is the Law so why Is the Law being Ignored by these sort of schemes give the public the Justice they deserve not slapping their wrists and giving them cautions, its not good enough what are we doing to deserve clowns like Mr Dixon backing this sort of codswallop? oliviaden6
  • Score: 2

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