Page last updated at 08:04 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 09:04 UK

Victims hold criminals to account

Painting over graffiti is one way offenders can make amends to victims

A scheme allowing victims of crime to talk to offenders about their actions has begun in West Yorkshire.

It is hoped the restorative justice programme will "give victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime", Kirklees Council said.

Offenders are also able explain why they committed the crime or to apologise to victims under the scheme.

Meetings can be face to face, by letter and or through trained mediators who can speak on behalf of those involved.

Andrew Marchington of the Safer Stronger Communities Partnership said: "At least two mediators are present and the location is agreed beforehand by everyone involved.

"The mediators ensure that the process is safe for all concerned."

Within the scheme criminals are also given the opportunity to repair damage they have done.

Ch Supt John Robbins of Kirklees Police said: "Restorative justice is a way of getting the offender to physically put things right, like painting over graffiti or repairing a damaged fence."

He added: "By having their questions answered, I think the scheme will allow victims of crime to put the offence behind them."

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