Bolton is the first university in the region to have students volunteering on a Neighbourhood Justice Panel, an opportunity which gives them valuable experience towards their future careers.
Dr Gill Allen and Dr Michelle Lowe, from the University’s School of Education and Psychology, are thrilled with the students’ response and the future career opportunities NJP gives them.
Bringing students into the scheme is the vision of Chief Inspector Carol Martin of Bolton division at Greater Manchester Police. Training is being led by Wigan Council’s Team Leader – Restorative Approaches Development, Graham Doubleday.
The scheme will work to restorative justice councils best practice guidance. The students are receiving accredited training by an accredited training provider.
The students complete their third and final session of training later this month.
An NJP is a voluntary process which brings together victims and wrongdoers, or two parties unable to settle their differences. The aim is to resolve conflict and harm caused by anti-social behaviour and crime. The process is suitable for adults and youths and is facilitated by trained community volunteers. It offers people who have suffered harm the opportunity to have their harm or loss acknowledged and for something to be done to recompense for it. The panels encourage wrongdoers to acknowledge the impact of what they have done and make amends to the victim and wider community. NJPs can often be used to address issues such as housing disputes.
First-year Psychology student Rosa Wai, age 29, of Bolton, said: ‘For me this is a fabulous opportunity. I see this volunteering experience as a gateway to my future career as I want to work within the criminal justice sphere.’
Said Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Dr Gill Allen: ‘We’re delighted to be the first university in the region to have its students working within a project like this and we believe we are the first in the country. For our students this is experience which is directly linked to many of the career paths they can pursue after they graduate.’
Said CI Carol Martin: ‘I am really keen to get young people involved in the Neighbourhood Justice Panel, especially university students, as not only do they bring young offenders into contact with mediators who are their peers but they also get to meet young people who will hopefully inspire them and show them what can be achieved through education.
‘NJPs have been around in many cultures for hundreds of years and they can be very effective in helping communities deal with conflicts. We understand that there are people who are not comfortable dealing with the police but working with their communities to resolve issues can have real, lasting impact.’
Said training leader, Graham Doubleday: ‘Wigan was one of the first authorities to bring in RJCs, a service we have found very effective in dealing with minor crimes and neighbourhood disputes which do not need to involve the court system.
‘These are certainly the first students we have trained and their enthusiasm has been really encouraging.’
The project is one of several to develop from a Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the University’s School of Education and Psychology and Greater Manchester Police in September 2015 to support the provision of placement opportunities for students as well as future joint projects with the School, particularly with the Criminological and Forensic Psychology team. – See more at: http://www.bolton.ac.uk/MediaCentre/Articles/2016/Mar2016-02.aspx#sthash.KwJZSu60.dpuf
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