The Victims’ Code states that victims have a right to be informed about and take part in restorative justice after experiencing a crime. Restorative justice brings together victims harmed by crime and those responsible for that harm, to find a positive way forward. It gives victims the chance to have their say, to get answers to their questions, and to move on with their lives, and gives offenders the opportunity to look at their behaviour and the impact it has had on the victim’s life.
How does restorative justice work?
- The offender must accept responsibility for the harm caused.
- The victim and offender must both be willing to participate.
- Restorative justice can only take place if a trained facilitator decides that it would be safe and suitable.
- The facilitator will speak to the victim and offender to discuss what has happened and carefully prepare them for a meeting, often called a conference.
- In the meeting, everyone will get to have their say and can agree actions to address the harm.
- In appropriate cases the victim and offender can invite agreed supporters to come with them.
- In some cases a meeting may not be suitable, but the process may be undertaken by another form of communication.