What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice empowers victims by listening to what they have to say, giving them a voice and a chance to explain the real impact of the crime to their offender. Through careful preparation, a face to face meeting, letter or other communication may then take place to allow both parties to talk about the harm that has been caused and suggest ways of repairing that harm.
Restorative Justice offers equal restoration for victims and offenders. For victims, meeting the person who has caused their distress can be challenging but can also be a huge brave step towards recovery.
The process holds offenders to account for their actions, but also gives them the opportunity to make amends in a way that discourages re-offending. Where ordered by the court, it is in addition to any other sentence rather than an alternative and as such cannot be considered a soft option. In reality, the experience can be incredibly challenging for offenders, as they are confronted by the very personal impact of their crime.
Victims are supported by experienced facilitators who make sure any RJ process takes place in a safe and supportive environment.
Victims often describe being empowered by the process which means that they no longer live in fear of going out and leading a normal life. For some victims it has meant that they can go out to the local shops, collect their child from school and not be afraid of a chance meeting with the offender in the street