Restorative Justice week at Why me?
It’s that time of year… #RJweek is nearly here!
The 18th – 24th of November is Restorative Justice Week
An occasion to celebrate the positive work being done in the world of Restorative Justice and to promote it to those affected by crime.
Why me? is the only national charity fighting to give more victims access to Restorative Justice. We want all victims with a known offender to be able to decide for themselves whether a restorative approach would be beneficial for them.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice empowers victims of crime to communicate with the offender. This is often through a face to face meeting, but can also involve other means of communication, such as letter writing and video shuttles where appropriate. The process is flexible around the needs of the victim, and only goes ahead with consent from both parties. Restorative Justice can be used for both serious and minor crimes and can happen alongside any other form of criminal process. Restorative Justice is managed by a trained facilitator, who speaks to each party in advance of a meeting, and only proceeds if it is safe to do so.
Why Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice gives victims the chance to talk about the impact of the crime and seek answers about why it happened. They often feel excluded, confused and revictimized by the criminal justice process. Restorative Justice brings them back to the heart of the discussion, and allows them to have their voices heard. Restorative Justice is also one of the most powerful ways of making offenders appreciate the consequences of their actions.
Extensive research supports Restorative Justice
- 85% of victims and 80% of offenders report that they are quite or very satisfied with their restorative conference. Over 50% of victims say it gave them a sense of closure, and 90% of victims receive an apology which they accept.
- Victims suffer significantly reduced Post Traumatic Stress symptoms on average after a restorative meeting.
- Restorative Justice reduces repeat offending by 14% according to Government research. A 2008-11 study in New Zealand gives similar findings.
- There is a 25% reduction in repeat offending for violent crimes after participation in restorative justice processes.
- Restorative Justice delivers savings of £9 for every £1 spent.
Victims of crime are being let down
Despite the overwhelming benefits of Restorative Justice, less than 5% of victims of crime with a known offender recall being offered the opportunity of Restorative Justice.
This is despite them being entitled to information about Restorative Justice in the Victims’ Code.
This suggests a significant underappreciation of the scope of Restorative Justice in police areas across the country. We are fighting to change this.
During RJ week we will be publishing two papers about Restorative Justice and hate crime
Hate crime is on the rise, and those affected are particularly unlikely to be given the option of Restorative Justice. This is despite the significant potential benefits of them being able to challenge the prejudiced views which led to the incident, and to be listened to and taken seriously.
The papers are a guide on making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime. The first focuses on making it happen in a single police area, and the second on making it happen nationally. This follows two years of work on this subject in our Access to Justice: Delivering Restorative Justice for hate crime project, working in partnership with Lancashire, Cambridgeshire and Avon & Somerset police.
We currently have 13 victim ambassadors whose personal stories are produced on our website, as part of our Empowering Victims campaign. Victims of crime are empowered to describe their own experience of Restorative Justice, and campaign for change. They have spoken out about their experience on many occasions as ambassadors, including to delegates at Labour Party Conference, the Police, and Police and Crime Commissioners.
We are committed to promoting access to our own Restorative Justice service as well as assisting with victims access to services across the country. Our website providess a map of Restorative Justice services in the UK as well as information on referrals to our service.