Students become pioneers for justice

Ella Rhodes reports on a scheme involving the University of Bolton's School of Education and Psychology.

University of Bolton psychology students have become pioneers in a new Neighbourhood Justice Panel (NJP) scheme, joining a team that works to settle local disputes and minor crimes. Bolton is the first university in the region to have students volunteering on such a panel.

An NJP is a voluntary process that brings together victims and wrongdoers, or two parties unable to settle their differences. The panels encourage wrongdoers to acknowledge the impact of what they have done and make amends to the victim and wider community.

The aim is to resolve conflict and harm caused by antisocial behaviour and crime. Dr Gill Allen and Dr Michelle Lowe, from the university’s School of Education and Psychology, said they were thrilled with the students’ response and the future career opportunities the panel may give them.

Allen said: ‘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.’

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, which was reported in The Psychologist (tinyurl.com/hskw372). 

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