What if I meet the offender and I am too frightened to go ahead with the meeting?
Both parties can pull out of the process at any time. Restorative Justice is an entirely voluntary process. You can also take a break to regain your composure and then still go ahead with the Conference
Do I have to forgive them?
No. Forgiveness is a personal choice, and no victim will ever be pressured to forgive the offender. Restorative Justice can still be extremely valuable to both parties without forgiveness.
Is it safe for me to meet the offender?
The Restorative Justice process is in the hands of a trained facilitator, and confidentiality is taken very seriously. Facilitators will not allow the process to go ahead if they do not consider it safe to do so.
Will Restorative Justice allow the offender to get off lightly?
No. Restorative Justice can be used alongside prison sentences or any other kind of punishment. Why me? have facilitated successful cases of Restorative Justice while offenders have been in prison, and their sentences have not been reduced as a result of Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice can also be used as part of a Out of Court Disposal, depending on the severity of the crime in question. As always, Restorative Justice will only go ahead with a victim’s consent.
Why would I want to meet the offender?
Some people have no desire to go through Restorative Justice, and others feel differently. It is worth finding out the facts about the process and considering it carefully. The majority of victims who go through Restorative Justice find the process beneficial. Many people want to ask questions about the crime. Many want to tell the offender what the consequences of their actions were. Many want to ensure that the offender doesn’t offend again. There are a multitude of benefits that can arise for victims who go through Restorative Justice. Here are stories from people who have experienced some of these benefits.
Can I communicate with the offender without meeting them?
It is possible to adjust Restorative Justice to make it agreeable to both parties if needed. This could include facilitating communication by letter writing, recording statements, sending representatives or a number of other adjustments. These practices can be very beneficial for some people, but the greatest potential benefit still comes from a face to face meeting if possible.