AN EX-OFFENDER who has turned his back on crime will help launch an innovative project being piloted in Bersted and Barnham.
The ex-offender, who turned his life around after hearing how his actions had ruined lives, will be speaking at the launch event of a new restorative justice scheme.
Paul Wotherspoon, Arun District Council’s cabinet member for community development, said: “Restorative justice is a tried and tested approach which has proved a huge benefit to victims who have valued the chance to sit down with the person who’s been causing the problems and tell them how they feel.
“It also challenges offenders to think about their actions in a different way, so reducing the chance of re-offending and allowing them to make amends.”
Residents are invited to the information event on June 5 to find out how the scheme will allow people affected by nuisance behaviour to sit down with those responsible.
The person harmed will get the chance to say how they feel and the perpetrator can explain their actions and agree to repair the harm they have caused.
The scheme, which has the working title Restorative Arun: Giving Communities a Voice, will also be running initially in Angmering.
Bruce Tippen, from the Sussex Criminal Justice Board, said: “There will be a lot of interest elsewhere in Sussex to see how Restorative Arun develops these new approaches to solving local problems.
“This project and other restorative justice activities across Sussex are all part of a programme to help people have a greater say in dealing with anti-social behaviour and building confidence in the criminal justice system.”
The term ‘restorative justice’ means bringing the people responsible for a crime or conflict in direct contact with those affected or victims of their actions.
Community volunteers are currently being trained to oversee the meetings.
The event is being held at the John Parry Centre, Chichester University Campus, Upper Bognor Road, in Bognor Regis, from 6.30-8.15pm, and is open to both members of the public and professionals.
Speakers will also include Chief Inspector Jane Derrick, Arun District Commander, and Katy Bourne, Sussex policing and crime commissioner.