Restorative justice

If you’ve been affected by crime, you should be given information about restorative justice.

Restorative justice (RJ) brings those harmed by crime, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward. Research shows many people find restorative justice helps them to move on with their lives after experiencing crime. It can also reduce the frequency of reoffending.

Restorative justice is a completely voluntary process and will only take place with the permission of participants.

  • The offender must accept responsibility for the harm caused by their actions.
  • Both you and the offender must be willing to participate.
  • Restorative justice can only take place if a trained facilitator decides it would be safe and suitable.
  • The facilitator will speak to you and the offender to discuss what has happened and explore different restorative process options.
  • During the process, everyone will get to have their say and can agree actions to address the harm.
  • If a restorative conference takes place, you and the offender can be supported by a friend, family member or other supporter.
  • In some cases a meeting may not be suitable, but the process may be undertaken by another form of communication.

Restorative justice gives you, the victim, a chance to:

  • have your say
  • explain to the person who harmed you, and perhaps even for the first time your family and friends, what the real impact and consequences of their behaviour has been on your life
  • get answers to questions and hopefully provide some element of closure
  • have the opportunity to move forward positively with your life
  • help to prevent the same thing happening to somebody else.

It gives the offender the opportunity to listen to the person they’ve harmed, and can answer any questions that person might have. They might apologise for what they’ve done, and can agree with the person they’ve harmed what they can do to personally make things better for them.

This can be done face-to-face with the offender (RJ conference), with trained RJ practitioners present, or facilitated indirectly.

You may be asked about the possibility of mediation, restorative justice or Youth Offender Panel meeting, or asked about reparation as part of an Out of Court process. It’s completely up to you whether or not you take part.

All communication between the victim and offender is carefully facilitated by an RJ practitioner who will make sure the process is safe and in your interests as the victim.

All police force areas will have an RJ service and Victim Support runs restorative justice services in various locations throughout England and Wales.

If you’d like to find out more about restorative justice, you can: