VIDEO: Community justice panels backed by mum of dangerous driver victim

A MUM whose son was killed by a dangerous driver has backed a new scheme to help victims of crime and wrongdoing can now seek answers from the criminals who have hurt them.

Sarah West is supporting the formation of  Rotherham community justice panels, which  will bring victims and offenders together, offering peace of mind through restorative justice.

The multi-agency scheme was launched with a conference at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Wednesday.

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Two years ago Sarah West’s son Jamie (15) was killed by a dangerous driver, now imprisoned in Doncaster.

Sarah, from Mexborough, met the man to ask the burning questions she had about her son’s death.

“I wanted to meet the offender from day one,” she said. “You don’t get all the answers you need from the police, only the facts.

“You don’t get to understand why this happened.

“I was very angry towards this person. He killed my son. You don’t expect to lose your son.”

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She added: “I wanted to know why he was there, why he was driving at speed and why he lied and said someone else was driving the car.

“I got the answers I needed. He’s still killed my son and that won’t change, but at least I know he is sorry and he didn’t intend it.”

Sarah was so impressed with the restorative justice system that she now works to help other victims access it.



Funded by the Ministry of Justice, the restorative justice scheme involves police, probation officers, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, South Yorkshire Criminal Justice Board and charity Victim Support.

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The community justice panels will also seek to resolve long-running neighbour disputes.

Cllr Kath Sims is Rotherham Borough Council cabinet member for community safety.

She said: “This will help give people a voice — those harmed by wrongdoers and those committing wrongdoing.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, was also at the launch.

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He said: “This is a way of taking the heat out of a situation before it gets worse.

“From a police perspective it enables community disputes to be got hold of at an early stage and, with skilled facilitators, to get a satisfactory resolution.

“If we can reduce the amount of time and resources the police have to put into it, we can potentially save money.”

For more information visit, telephone 0800 561 1000 or text SYRJ to 82055.