Victim of Antisemitic Attack in Manchester Calls Face-to-Face With Offender ‘Incredibly Rewarding’
A victim of an antisemitic attack in Manchester, UK, said meeting his attacker was gratifying and he encourages others to do the same, the local publication Salford Online reported on Wednesday.
“It was incredibly rewarding,” said Jack, 24, of meeting the offender, who was close to his age. “Where the victim is comfortable and the crime fits, I would wholeheartedly encourage other people to go down this route.”
Jack added that the face-to-face encounter let him “understand [the offender’s] mindset…and [for him] to see the consequences of his crime.”
On Rosh Hashanah in 2011, Jack was wearing a Jewish skullcap, also known as a kippah, and was walking home from a synagogue in Salford, Manchester, when the driver of a passing car hurled antisemitic insults at him. Jack took down the car’s registration number and reported it to police. Authorities called back a week later to tell him the offender was found. The verbal assailant was told to write Jack a letter of apology and also meet the victim in person.
Jack said the antisemitic attack “didn’t have a massive impact on me personally,” but explained that he wanted to meet the offender to see how his words affected “a more vulnerable member of the community.”
“What if it is was your mum or gran, for example?”Jack asked. “Incidents like this have a wider impact on the Jewish community and can instill fear.”
Greater Manchester’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle said Jack’s story shows the benefits of restorative justice, a criminal justice system that focuses on rehabilitating offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community. He said the system has proven successful in the Greater Manchester area and he urges more victims to take part in the process. The Greater Manchester Victims’ Services website even provides advice and information for crime victims who wish to take part in restorative justice.
Battle said when used the right way, restorative justice “really works [by] allowing criminals to face up to what they’ve done and giving victims the closure they need.”
“However, it must be used appropriately and be victim-led and victim-focused,” he added. “If the victim is not comfortable with the process and doesn’t feel involved then restorative justice is not the way to go.”