What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice’s aim is to empower you to cope and recover from your experience. This can include, should you wish, the opportunity to communicate with your offender, where appropriate, in order to explain the impact their actions had on you. If you are interested in doing this, your care coordinator can explain what it involves and discuss with you if it’s suitable for your recovery.
Restorative Justice gives you the chance to have your say and to explain in real terms the affect the behaviour has had on you and those close to you. By entering into communication with the person who caused the harm, you can ask directly for answers to your questions and help establish how the harm might be repaired so that that you can move on with your life.
Restorative Justice challenges the attitudes and beliefs of those who cause harm by allowing them to hear and understand the full extent of how people are affected by their actions. By communicating with those most affected, offenders come to see victims as real people with complex lives and genuine feelings. Importantly, the restorative process enables the offender to work with the victim to make amends.
Restorative Justice is not designed to replace criminal justice proceedings, an offender may still be cautioned by the police, convicted in court and even sentenced to prison. In all these cases the victim has a right to participate in a restorative process which can run alongside any criminal justice disposal. Similarly, there may be no police or court outcome but Restorative Justice is still an option.
As long as the offender is willing to accept some responsibility for what they have done, a restorative process can be explored.
To ensure it works for you and meets your needs, there are a number of options within the process. On receiving a referral from your care coordinator, a trained practitioner will arrange to meet with you to talk about the impact of what has happened. They will also explain the various options and work with you to identify your preferred choice of communication and the possible outcomes.
The practitioner will then talk to the offender about what happened, what their understanding of the harm they have caused is, and what they think they could do personally to make things better. The offender will then be asked if they are willing to enter into some form of direct communication.
If you choose to take part in this then it is completely voluntary. All parties can identify a supporter and they can withdraw at any time. All meetings are risk assessed and held in suitably safe and neutral venues.
Get further support
Everybody’s victim journey is different, which is why we shape your support around what you want and need.
If you feel like you’re really struggling and haven’t been able to move on with your life following the crime, then we’re still here for you. We don’t want you suffering in silence feeling like you can’t get in touch with us again. You might need us two years after the crime happened, because something has triggered an emotion. We’ll still be here for you and will make sure you get the right support again.
This could include referring you onto a councillor or a support service that specialises in the crime that you were a victim of.
If you need us, we want to hear from you. It’s all part of how we get you back to feeling like you again.