Who benefits from Restorative Justice?
Victims often want to understand why the crime happened to them. Restorative Justice empowers victims, putting them at the heart of the process and meeting their needs in a way that the traditional justice system can't.
Victims want to know that they are not likely to be harmed by the same person again, and often they want to know that the offender will not harm anyone else in the future either.
By helping the offender to face up to the consequences of what they have done, Restorative Justice (RJ) provides the offender with the chance to make a real difference to the victim, and to begin to think about changing their behaviour in the future.
Research shows that around 60% of victims offered the opportunity to participate in RJ say yes. For offenders, approached on the basis of having accepted responsibility/pleaded guilty and with a victim who wishes to participate, 75% say yes.
When can Restorative Justice take place?
RJ can be used when the victim you are working with feels it would support them in their recovery.
It can take place at all stages of the Criminal Justice System (CJS), including Out-of-Court, Pre-Sentence (as part of either an adjournment between plea and sentence or as part of a deferred sentence), and Post-Sentence.
It is important that there is the opportunity for an RJ activity to take place at the right time for all the participants involved.
RJ should not disrupt CJS processes.
Which cases are suitable?
No offence is excluded.
RJ should be victim-focused, so that it is their choice whether or not to participate, but the offender also has to agree.
The service is free of charge, completely confidential and impartial. If a victim or offender is being supported by a CJS agency or partner, we will update that organisation about the outcomes of RJ activities.
Will it impact on any sentence?
That is for the sentencer alone to decide.
It is not the purpose of Restorative Justice to influence sentencing decisions. That is made clear to both victim and offender at the start.
How do I find out more or make a referral?
The service accepts referrals for all crimes.
The service takes referrals from the police, victims, victims’ services organisations, offender management agencies and any other organisation that is working with victims or offenders.
Any RJ outcome will be determined in line with both the victim’s and offender’s wishes.
The RJ procedure will not prejudice the victim, offender or the criminal justice process.