Restorative justice gives the opportunity for people harmed by a crime and the people responsible for the harm to share how the crime has affected them. It lets everyone involved play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
The communication can be a face-to-face meeting or a letter, recorded audio interview or video.
All victims of crime can seek restorative justice but the process will only take place if both victim and offender want it to.
Restorative justice is completely voluntary for all those taking part. Trained facilitators assess risks and make sure that the process is safe for everybody involved.
Restorative justice is used for any type of crime and at any stage of the criminal justice process, including if the offender is serving a prison sentence.
Benefits of restorative justice
Restorative justice gives a victim the opportunity to explain the impact of the harm caused, through safe communication with support and encouragement from trained facilitators. They can explain how it made them feel, describe the consequences, ask questions, receive an explanation and seek an apology if they wish.
The process can empower and help victims recover from the incident and participation in restorative justice has no influence on the sentence an offender may receive.
Offenders have the chance to take responsibility for their actions, offer an explanation, and take steps to repair the harm. It can help them understand how their actions have affected victims and their families.
Research shows that restorative justice also leads to a reduction in reoffending.
How to apply for restorative justice
Contact the Victim Care Unit who can arrange restorative justice for you and help with any questions you might have.
You can email or phone them on 01392 475900 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at the weekend and bank holidays.
If you decide you want to take part in restorative justice, you'll get support from our specialist restorative justice service Make Amends.