Offenders could be made to face victims of crime as restorative justice comes to Camden

Violent offenders and burglars could be ordered to face their victims in person, when a larger scale restorative justice scheme is piloted in Camden from this month.

Convicted criminals who escape custodial sentences could be forced to take part in the scheme, launched by the London Probation Trust (LPT), although victims will be given the choice to attend or not.

Camden and Brent will join eight other London boroughs in testing the �50,000 pilot that will last until December.

Initial funding secured from the LPT at an estimated �1,000 per case will be reviewed when the case load can be evaluated.

During the restorative justice process, offenders will attend four sessions mediated by trained facilitators with the option of sitting down with the victim at the final meeting.

LPT assistant chief officer Andrew Hillas believes it will benefit both the victim and perpetrator.

He said: “It gives victims the opportunity to tell offenders about the impact the crime has had on them and their lives. It provides some closure.

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“And often victims are keen to understand why the crime has happened in the first place.

“For offenders, meeting their victim provides them with a chance to make amends for their crime and take responsibility for their actions.”

According to Mr Hillas research has shown that these meetings can help reduce reoffending rates, particularly for violence and burglary.

But a West Hampstead bartender and victim of a violent crime does not believe the process would be beneficial to him.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable because of the type of crime,” said Asllan Islami, 23. “At certain points I was in fear of my life and to face that person again, I couldn’t think of anything worse.”