A PIONEERING community panel is set to launch in Colne to help offer restorative justice to residents.
Colne Community Advisory Panel, which is made up of 10 volunteers from across the town, aims to help resolve community issues and offences in a simple and straight-forward way.
Chaired by Coun. Margaret Foxley, the panel will deal with a range of problems, from neighbourly disputes, through to burglaries.
Some issues will need police assistance, while others will not.
Coun. Foxley has herself experienced the benefits of restorative justice, after she met the burglar who stole a laptop containing pictures of her daughter, Jessica — who tragically died in a car crash in 2009, just six months after the burglary.
The mum, who has been working on the project over the past two years, said: “Restorative justice does work. My situation is not just a one off — it is happening across the country.
“It is essential to give the victim an opportunity to express to the perpetrator or the harmer how they are feeling, what harm has been done to them, and let the harmer understand how they have been making them feel.”
The panel will be launched on March 14th at Colne Town Hall, and Coun. Foxley is hopeful that it will inspire other communities to set up similar groups.
On the Restorative Justice Panel’s website, it states that there is a strong and growing evidence base that restorative justice meets the needs of victims and reduces the frequency of re-offending.
All volunteers involved with the Colne -based project have attended a three day training course delivered by Restorative Solutions.
Coun. Foxley added: “This is a very special initiative that is close to my own heart because of the experience I had in being a victim of crime.
“Restorative approaches can be used to deal with disputes within our community.
“It is about nipping things in the bud before they become a great problem.
“Colne is a very tight-knit community, and a very special community. It’s a first in Lancashire.”