Christian charity seeks crime victims to tell their story
A prison fellowship group is appealing for people who have been victims of crime - however long ago - to tell of their experience to a group of prisoners as part of a restorative justice course.
Every life in prison transformed. That’s the audacious vision of Christian charity Prison Fellowship England and Wales. Working through a network of committed volunteers in local groups, they seek to show Christ’s love to prisoners by coming alongside them and supporting them.
The Prison Fellowship group serving HMP Wayland, near Norwich, are looking for people who have been victims of crime to share their story as part of the Sycamore Tree course - a popular six-session restorative justice and victim awareness course for men and women in prison, based on the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19.
Half way through the course, a victim of crime is invited to come and tell their story, and how the offence committed against them has affected them, both at the time and in the longer term.
Annabel Valentine, a Prison Fellowship volunteer, says, "This invariably has a profound effect on the learners, many of whom have never really considered the impact of their crimes on their victims, family and community, and can cause them to resolve not re-offend.”
If you have been a victim of crime (it need not be recent), and you would be willing to come and share your story with a group of about 20 learners in prison, you would be warmly welcomed and appreciated! You do not need any past experience of prison ministry, and would be fully supported and prepared.
Annabel says, "It is clearly not easy to revisit memories of having been a victim of crime, be it burglary, robbery, violence, fraud or whatever, but it can be so worthwhile."
The flavour of what Sycamore Tree is all about can be experienced on this short video clip below.
You can also read more on the Prison Fellowship website
We’d love to hear from you if you think you might be able to help and would like to find out more. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 07786 533319.