Restorative Justice Week 2018
It is #RJWeek this week, a chance to celebrate the successes and potential of Restorative Justice.
Why me? would like every victim to have the right to access Restorative Justice if the offender is willing to take part.
But what is Restorative Justice? And why is it so beneficial? We have a handy guide for you here:
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice puts the needs of the victim back in the centre of the justice process. It facilitates a dialogue between victim and offender, giving the victim the opportunity to express how they have been harmed and seek answers to questions they have about the crime committed against them.
How does it work in practice?
The victim and offender meet, in a safe and controlled setting, alongside a trained Restorative Justice facilitator.
Both parties are prepared beforehand for what the experience will be like, and encouraged to think about what they want to gain from the meeting.
The two parties will then talk for an extended period about the crime which was committed and its consequences, guided by the Restorative Justice facilitator. Interrupting is not tolerated, and it is important that the victim is able to express their feelings, and ask the questions which they want answers to.
Such meetings can be arranged at any stage of the justice process, such as while an offender is in prison, before they have been sentenced, or while they are serving a non-prison sentence.
Restorative Justice can also be facilitated via written communication or people speaking on behalf of the victim: but face to face meetings bring the most potential benefits.
Why is it a good idea?
Restorative Justice is important is because it is what victims deserve. Our current system ignores the needs of victims, who are marginalised from the criminal justice process. Restorative Justice puts victims back in the centre of the discussion – where they belong – and helps them on their journey to recovery. A Government evaluation found that 85% of victims who took part in Restorative Justice were satisfied with the process.
Restorative Justice also has the potential to benefit offenders and the economy. Being held accountable by the person you have harmed is an effective way of making you re-evaluate your behaviour and strive for personal change. Restorative Justice reduces the frequency of re-offending by 14%, and saves £9 for the Criminal Justice system for every £1 spent.
Is Restorative Justice used in the UK?
Yes – but it should be used far more widely. In 2015 the Victims Code gave victims a right to be informed about Restorative Justice. But this is a reality for less than 5% of victims according to the British Crime Survey 2016. Adequate resources, training and awareness of Restorative Justice are not provided, and different Police and Crime Areas have different approaches to it.
We want seeking Restorative Justice to be a genuine enforceable right of victims of crime. And this is what we are campaigning to achieve.
How can I help?
If you agree that victims deserve the right to pursue Restorative Justice – spread the word! Restorative Justice Week is all about raising awareness, and reminding policy makers that the evidence in favour of Restorative Justice is irrefutable.
The hashtag is #RJWeek. We hope you support our campaign.