A TEAM of volunteers that give up their time to create understanding between criminals and victims has won an award for their dedication.

The Restorative Together team, which cover Wiltshire and Swindon, won Police Support of the Year Team award at the awards which covered the whole of the South-West.

Victoria Davey, originally from Swindon but now living in Cirencester, became a restorative justice facilitator for Swindon and Wiltshire in 2016.

She told the Adver: " When you take on a case which has a positive outcome, the feeling is immensely rewarding.

"A lady in one of the cases I was involved with was overwhelmed and incredibly grateful to learn that I was giving up my free time to help her move on and gain closure after she was the victim of a serious crime many years ago."

Victoria was especially inspired by a book by Peter Wolf called The Woolf Within who after spending much of his early life in and out of prison, turned his life around with the help of Restorative Justice programmes.

Victoria is now trained to handle sensitive and complex cases, which can go up to murder and sex offences, and acts as a point of contact to pass messages between victims and offenders.

"A case I was on recently I met with the victim and the offender who was serving time in prison," she said.

"More often than not we meet with them face-to-face initially.

"Some of the complex cases can be quite hard-hitting, but there's always someone we can talk to if we have to.

"We were working on this one case for a year, but the victim was able to turn her life around massively, with the help of us, and obviously other services involved. That was a good outcome.

"For the victim it's a way of gaining closure by asking the questions they feel like they need to ask. If the offender instigates it then they might want to say sorry and explain why they did what they did."

Inger Lowater, the Restorative Justice Co-ordinator who nominated the team for the award, said: "I see on a daily basis what a great job the team does and the dedication they have to do the best possible job.

"Restorative Justice looks at the very personal aspects of crime - we look at the individual needs of victims and what they need in order to move on in their lives.

"Our volunteers come from all different backgrounds and are incredibly talented - they all have an interest in people and helping others. They give up their free time to do this."