Grieving daughter forgives speeding driver
In 2015, “Linda’s” father was killed in a dangerous driving incident by “Daniel” who was speeding on his way to the gym. Thanks to Restorative Justice (RJ) Linda was able to come face to face with Daniel and forgive him. As part of RJ Week 2020 they have both shared their intimate experiences of the process to encourage more people to take part.
RJ is a voluntary process which gives victims of crime the opportunity to describe to the offender the impact the crime has had on them. It will only happen if the victim and the offender both want to take part and a trained facilitator decides that it is safe to do so.
Working with their facilitator, participants can decide the best option for communicating with the offender including by letter, via trained facilitator or in face-to-face conferences. Linda chose to meet with Daniel face-to-face in order to ask him the questions that she felt had gone unanswered during the court case. She said: “Daniel was open and honest and answered questions about the accident. It was good to hear his side of it and how he felt about it all and to see his remorse and regret.
“I found the RJ process a very powerful and healing one that I would recommend in the right circumstances. It has taught me a lot about the power of forgiveness. I found it very liberating to say the words: I forgive you and you have my blessing.”
Speaking of his experience of the process, Daniel said: “I was so nervous, on my way over to the meeting I could easily have turned back, but I knew that I would have regretted that for the rest of my life if I did.
“The meeting was amazing. It could so easily have not happened, but I’m so glad it did. I feel like I really do have her forgiveness which has helped me to feel a lot better about things. I think that I got as much out of that meeting as I possibly could.”
The award-winning Sussex RJ Partnership was established in 2014 by Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne. It is made up of more than 20 agencies including: the National Probation Service; Her Majesty’s Prison Service; Sussex Police; and Victim Support.
Mrs Bourne said: “Restorative Justice is a proven, powerful and effective process which gives the victim the opportunity to describe, often in great detail, to the offender the impact that their crime has had upon them.
“I’m immensely thankful for the work of our RJ partnership which has helped hundreds of victims in Sussex to restore their faith, not just in the criminal justice system, but in society as a whole.
“I’m also very grateful to both Linda and Daniel for sharing their intimate stories to help demystify the process and reassure others who may be considering taking part.”
To read Linda and Daniel’s experiences in their own words and find out more about how to participate in Restorative Justice visit: www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/RJ