A PROJECT to rehabilitate criminals by getting them to come face-to-face with their victims will be launched in Bolton.
Charity Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) is starting ROC Restore in the town alongside Bolton Council and the police.
Bolton will be the fourth area in the country to spearhead the scheme.
The project, which will start next month, will involve volunteers organising meetings where victims will come face-to-face with low level criminals and people who have committed anti-social behaviour.
The victims will be able to tell the offenders how their actions have affected them.
Rebecca Green, national development manager at the Manchester based charity, said: “Following on from our successful Bolton ROC Conversation in September 2013, we are launching our ROC Restore project in Bolton.
“ROC Restore is a form of restorative justice (RJ) undertaken by community members.
“The aim is to bring together victims and perpetrators of low level crime, anti-social behaviour and nuisance in a meeting where trained volunteers use restorative or reparative approaches to agree on a course of action for those involved.
“The issue of restorative justice is currently gaining wider national publicity and support.”
About 100 people came together in Bolton town centre last year to brainstorm ideas on how to improve the town. ROC Restore has been launched following feedback from police, the fire service, the council and community groups.
Police regularly carry out restorative justice in the community. Last year, The Bolton News reported on how a thief, who took a pensioner’s walking stick from Kwik Save in Market Street, Little Lever, apologised to the victim, Richard Grundy, aged 83.
The man saw his photograph in The Bolton News and confessed to the theft. The victim and police decided restorative justice was the best way to deal with the incident.
Mr Grundy said he was pleased the matter had been taken seriously by police and felt the thief had learned his lesson.
Volunteers wanted are those who recognise the responsibility that comes with the role and want to make a difference to their community.
All volunteers will be given nationally accredited restorative justice training and will be subject to a disclosure and barring service check along with confidentiality and data protection requirements. The training and experience can lead to qualifications.
Volunteers will undergo three days of training and will receive referrals from GMP, Bolton Council and other agencies.
People interested in getting involved are asked to attend The Grace Centre, Somerset Road, Bolton on Tuesday at 7pm. The evening is expected to last two hours. People can register attendance at firstname.lastname@example.org