The Evidence supporting Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice works. It helps victims of crime to move forward with their lives, and reduces rates of repeated offending.

The UK Government funded a seven year research programme into Restorative Justice in 2001. Findings from this research showed that Restorative Justice produced the following results.

Victims of crime can often feel sidelined by the Criminal Justice System.

Restorative Justice puts the victim at the heart of the process, enabling them to ask questions and take control.

This explains why 85% of victims who go through Restorative Justice are satisfied with the experience.

Restorative Justice can help people who have committed offences see the real impact of their actions and change their behaviour.

This means they are less likely to re-offend. 

Re-offending costs the government £1.5bn a year. 

Restorative Justice therefore saves money whilst changing lives.


Why me? have gathered further evidence that can be found here : Evidence for Restorative Justice 

Valuing Victims

Our Valuing Victims project looks at Government funding for Restorative Justice, how it is spent in different areas, and what outcomes have been achieved. 

The most recent Valuing Victims report was published in March 2020. Why me? obtained data on Restorative Justice for each PCC area through a Freedom of Information request, and have analysed the responses. 

Key Findings

Victims who experience Restorative Justice have shown

  1. Improved health and well-being
  2. being better able to cope with aspects of life
  3. Increased feeling of safety
  4. Being better informed and empowered

You can read the most recent report: “Valuing Victims: A Review of Police and Crime Commissioners’ Delivery of Restorative Justice 2018/19” and our previous work in the Valuing Victims series below.

Valuing Victims 2020 (PDF)

Why me?’s work widening access to Restorative Justice 

Why me? are campaigning for those affected by crime to have greater access to Restorative Justice. Our projects have produced evidence which support its use.

Inclusive Restorative Justice during Covid-19. 

We developed Restorative Justice resources to ensure access to this service continues during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Our Virtual Restorative Justice: Good practice guide goes into detail about the considerations which facilitators should take into account when managing an online restorative process. 

From which platforms to use, to troubleshooting technical issues, to ensuring the conversation feels genuine – this guide covers everything facilitators will need to think about in close detail, with video clips to help demonstrate these points.

We also worked alongside Brian Dowling in 2017 to create guidance on delivering restorative conversations through online conferencing. Read our guidance here: Explaining the Restorative Justice process through Virtual Conferencing.

The right to choose Restorative Justice.

The 2019 Crime Survey for England and Wales found that only 1 in 20 adult victims with a known offender recalled being given the option of Restorative Justice that year. 

We believe that all victims of crime should be informed about Restorative Justice, and offered a referral to their local Restorative Justice provider.

This paper explains the basis for our position, and gives recommendations for how to increase the number of victims who are offered a restorative process.

The right to choose Restorative Justice (PDF)

Restorative Policing

Restorative Policing is a style of policing which incorporates restorative values, such as listening to all parties, working towards a shared way forward, and not being overly reliant on enforcement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Four Es guidance was published by the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs’ Council, outlining how to police the unprecedented restrictions on what members of the public can do.

This guidance was a great example of restorative policing, and we welcome it. We would like to see similar guidance published which explains how restorative policing can be used in a broader range of situations; far beyond the policing of the pandemic. We would like to see restorative policing principles incorporated into the way that police forces operate across the country. 

Restorative policing: The pandemic and beyond (PDF)

Making Restorative Justice Happen for Hate Crime

Why me? is fighting for victims of hate crime to have the option of Restorative Justice. Following a two year project, we have published two papers on how to make Restorative Justice happen for hate crime.

Making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime in your police area (PDF)

Making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime across the country (PDF)

These reports follow the Access to Justice: Delivering Restorative Justice for hate crime project. We worked in partnership with three police areas: Lancashire, Cambridgeshire and Avon & Somerset, to improve provision of Restorative Justice for hate crime, and to appreciate the barriers which prevent victims of hate crime from being given the option of Restorative Justice.

The papers give a clear checklist of actions which can unlock this option for victims of hate crime.

Making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime in your police area gives recommendations to restorative providers, police, victim staff and Police and Crime Commissioners about how to increase the use of Restorative Justice for hate crime in their police area.

Making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime across the country gives recommendations to national policy makers – including the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service – about how to ensure that victims of hate across England and Wales are offered Restorative Justice.

Access to Justice: Restorative Justice for LGBT+ hate crime

This project promotes Restorative Justice as a method of addressing LGBT+ hate crime across London. We worked with national LGBT+ organisations such as Galop, as well as those based in London. 

Galop have produced a Guide for LGBT+ people and hate crime which explains what hate crime is and what you can do if you have experienced homophobic hate.

Why me? also published a chapter in the Safe To Be Handbook by the Speak Out project about using Restorative Justice in cases of LGBTI+ hate crime.

Making the Parole Board work for victims of crime.

There were concerns that Parole board panel members did not understand Restorative Justice and that Restorative Justice Service providers did not understand the Parole board.

 In order to better explain the relationship between these two services, Why me? worked in collaboration with victims of serious crime and the parole board to take action and improve knowledge for both parties. 

The result of the collaborative work throughout 2018 is the development and publication of two leaflets:

  1. Restorative Justice explained for Parole Board Panel Members
  2. The Parole process explained for Restorative services and practitioners

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