What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a voluntary process bringing together victims of crime and offenders to help repair harm and find a positive way forward. It gives victims an opportunity to explain to an offender the real impact of their crime, to seek answers and to help them move on with their lives, empowering victims by giving them a voice. RJ also provides a way for offenders to face up to their actions, understand the effects of their crimes and make amends and take responsibility.
Who is it for?
RJ can be requested by anyone who feels it might be right for them, although not all cases or circumstances are appropriate. All requests for RJ are assessed on a case-by-case basis. RJ is voluntary for both the victim and the offender and will only take place if both parties agree. The offender will need to have admitted responsibility for the crime and a trained facilitator will assess that RJ is a safe and suitable intervention.
Methods of RJ
Sometimes called a Conference, this involves a meeting between the victim and the offender. Some people prefer to attend RJ on their own but others have a friend or family member with them to provide support. In addition, in some cases meetings can involve several family members as well as people from other agencies or the wider community, where appropriate. This will be discussed with the victim and the offender and agreed in advance.
The Facilitator will work with the victim and the offender to arrange the passing of letters between both parties to allow you the opportunity to write down your questions and feelings for the offender to read and respond to. Letters will be reviewed by the Facilitator before being passed to either party to ensure that their content is helpful and has a restorative aim.
Shuttle Mediation (Indirect)
Instead of writing, messages are passed verbally between both parties by the Facilitator. This can be used where there are issues such as language barriers, being unable to read and write fluently, or through personal choice.
What happens Next?
A trained practitioner will make contact with the victim and the offender to arrange an initial meeting to gain a basic understanding of their needs and how they both would like to proceed. Exploring the possibility of a restorative process with a trained practitioner can be beneficial in itself, and will help people to understand your needs. There is no commitment to anything further.
Our service is equipped to prepare people for the restorative process regardless of the type of crime.
Victims will be offered the support of one of our Victim Care Coordinators who will work alongside the practitioner to ensure you are ready to participate.
Offenders will be given the opportunity to express their feelings regarding the offence without fear of reprisal or humiliation.
The trained practitioner will work with both parties to prepare them to take part in whichever type of RJ is most appropriate, and they will spend time getting to know each party and what support they need to take part in RJ.
We will spend the time needed to make sure that it is safe and all parties are ready and prepared to take part. Both parties can withdraw from the process at any point. We will never share contact details, location or expect you to meet with the other party alone. All interventions are facilitated and the risk assessments are undertaken to insure that the meetings are safe to go ahead.