VICTIMS of crime in Hammersmith and Fulham will soon be able to come face to face with the perpetrators.
London Probation Trust, which manages more than half the prison population of England and Wales, is launching the ten-week Restorative Justice project across the borough.
It will see criminals sentenced to community orders, for offences such as burglary, able to take part in the four session scheme instead of spending time behind bars with the final session including a meeting with their victim.
Victims have the choice whether to take part or not but Trust bosses believe the process can help them recover from the shock of becoming a victim of crime.
Andrew Hillas, Trust asssistant chief officer, said: "Restorative Justice gives victims the opportunity to tell offenders about the impact the crime has had on them and their lives. It provides some closure. And often victims are keen to understand why the crime has happened in the first place.
"More than that, people want to feel reassured that the perpetrator is going to change their behaviour, leave their criminal ways behind them and that there will be fewer victims in future.
"For offenders, meeting their victim provides them with a chance to make amends for their crime and take responsibility for their actions. Research shows that these meetings can help reduce reoffending rates, particularly with offences of violence and burglary.
"Though we have done Restorative Justice work before it has been on a much smaller scale. We are now working in partnership with an experienced community mediation agency, CALM, to ensure our programme works to the highest standards."
Other boroughs involved in the pilot are Brent, Camden, Croydon, Greenwich, Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Newham and Sutton.
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