Our work aims to provide hope, rehabilitation and recovery to perpetrators and victims of crime in England and Wales. We do this through mentoring, creative psychotherapy and restorative justice. We also provide training for criminal justice staff and prisoners. We work with those that are hardest to reach. Approximately 75% of our service users are young people aged 17-25, and approximately 80% are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
Restorative Justice Services
We provide restorative justice interventions in response to crime and anti-social behaviour committed in the community and in response to incidents and violence that occur in custodial settings.
To find out how to refer someone for Restorative Justice, click here
Where it is safe and both parties are willing, restorative approaches give victims of harm opportunities to communicate with perpetrators in order to explain the impact of offending on them and have their questions answered. This enables people who have committed offences to develop empathy, learn about the impact of their offending on others and find ways of making amends or restoring relationships.
We currently deliver Restorative Services as part of the Youth to Adulthood Hub, in Newham, as well as in HMP Coldingley, HMP/YOI Isis, HMP The Mount, and HMP Featherstone. We also accept referrals from the community.
When evaluating our restorative approaches programmes in custody, we found a significant reduction in custodial violence and antisocial behaviour associated with engagement in our restorative approaches services (based on data in regards to 72 participants across HMP The Mount, HMP Coldingley and HMP/YOI Isis).
- Involvement in violence decreased by 89%
- Involvement in threatening and antisocial behaviour decreased by 63%
Belong provides one-to-one, holistic, tailored mentoring services in custodial settings and in community settings, to people in contact with the Criminal Justice System.
To find out how to refer someone for mentoring, click here
Belong’s mentoring services helps participants to build their confidence and deal with issues relating to accommodation; education, training and employment; health; drugs and alcohol; finance, benefit and debt; children and families; attitudes, thinking and behaviour.
Through Belong’s mentoring services:
- 66% of mentoring participants increased their engagement in education, training and employment;
- 49% made with problems in their lives, for example with housing, finance, benefits and substance misuse.
- 48% increased their engagement with positive activities in their community;
“My mentor has instilled in me a sense of confidence, belief and has continually challenged me to make progressive changes in my life” – Tony, a Belong mentee.
Belong deliver Creative Psychotherapy to perpetrators and victims of crime, in custodial and community settings.
To find out how to refer someone for therapy, click here
Through group and one-to-one psychotherapy interventions, participants are supported to use verbal and non-verbal tools to process experiences of trauma; improve communication and conflict resolution skills; improve their mental and emotional wellbeing; learn to express and manage difficult thoughts and feelings.
To see some of the powerful artwork created during creative psychotherapy sessions, click here. Thank you so much to the service users who consented to us sharing their work with you!
By enabling participants to make progress in these areas, arts-based psychotherapies tackle the root causes of offending behavior and maximise participants ability to live crime free lives.
Through Me:Time, short-term emotional wellbeing support and medium-term psychotherapeutic support is delivered to young people who are leaving custody and transitioning back into the community. The service is open to young people of all genders, between the ages of 15-25.
We have recently partnered with East of England Probation Service to deliver Me:Time to people with convictions from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Backgrounds.
Prison, Life and New Achievements (PLAN A)
Prison, Life and New Achievements (or PLAN A for short) is an innovative, evidence- based programme which involves children and young people in up to three interventions concurrently: one-to-one mentoring, group or one-to-one creative psychotherapy and restorative justice (RJ).
Support is delivered for up to 6 months during custody, after release from prison or whilst serving community sentences. The inclusion of three stands of intervention in PLAN A is unique to this programme, with each strand complementing the other, enabling other strands to be more successful and increasing the likelihood of overall engagement. For example, for many children and young people, until they have overcome trauma through creative psychotherapy sessions, or dealt with guilt and shame related to their offence through restorative justice, are unable to engage in the support offered through mentoring, such as seeking employment.
Originally piloted in 2014, PLAN A has been independently evaluated by Royal Holloway University. Our internal evaluations of PLAN A since 2016, have shown that out of 100 participants who took part in the evaluation:
- 84% showed improvements in their mental and/or emotional well-being
- 81% decreased their resolve to reoffend
- 80% increased their prosocial relationships.
Out of 35 participants who took part in a separate strand of evaluation:
- 60% increased their engagement, and
- 63% increased their access to education, employment and training.
We work with professionals working in the criminal justice system, delivering specialised training in restorative approaches, mediation, conflict resolution and trauma informed approaches.
To find out more about our training services or arrange a call with one of our team, contact email@example.com
Restorative Justice Practitioner Training and Mediating Conflicts Training
Restorative approaches and mediation training is delivered over three to five days to participants in groups of up to 24. Belong have delivered restorative approaches and mediation training to prison officers, prison managers, prisoners and adjudicators. During the course, participants learn the necessary tools to become skilled facilitators. Some of the key topics that are covered include:
- An introduction to restorative approaches
- Common causes of conflict, and the needs of people involved in conflict
- On-the-spot restorative approaches in daily prison life
- Planning, preparing and facilitating planned restorative approaches
- Complex and sensitive cases
- Restorative letters and agreements
- Trauma-informed approaches
- Supervision, Reflective Practice and Continuing Professional Development
Training techniques used include group and/or pair exercises, individual tasks, role- plays, display of short films, and where possible, question and answer sessions with previous service-users. After training, Belong will support staff to become skilled practitioners, offering case supervision and support.
Train-the-Trainer: Mediating Conflicts
Over three days, trainers develop their skills in facilitating the 5-day mediating conflicts course. Trainers develop their skills in training mediators to:
- Understand key benefits and principles of mediation
- Use mediation processes to support those in conflict to communicate safely
- Help individuals to resolve difficulties caused by destructive conflicts
- Encourage others to deal with conflicts constructively in the future
Up to 12 staff members can be involved in the train-the-trainer mediating conflicts 3 day course. Course materials include the trainer manual, participant handbook, training presentations, training exercises and role plays. Our training packages are developed in line with RJC Guidelines, which is reviewed by trainers each time any training packages are delivered, along with feedback questionnaires. Our restorative services achieved the Restorative Services Quality Mark in Spring 2019.
Support for trainers can continue after the training, with Belong’s skilled Practitioners supporting trainers and staff to develop their skills, overcome issues and tackle complex and sensitive cases.