Restorative justice services

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.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the percentage of victims who were offered a meeting increased from 4.8% in 2018-19 to 5.5% in 2019-20 (having decreased from 7.5% in 2017-18). Twenty-six per cent of victims said they would have accepted an opportunity to meet with the offender if offered.

Government research has shown that 85% of victims were satisfied with the restorative justice they were involved with. The research also concluded that restorative justice can reduce the frequency of reoffending by up to 27%.

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.

Victim Support currently runs eight restorative justice services across England and Wales. Our services and restorative justice facilitators are trained to national standards and are able to deliver safe and effective restorative justice interventions.

We support the right for all victims to be made aware of restorative justice and how they can take part. We believe that the needs of the victim should be put first, ensuring that victims know how restorative justice can benefit them and that they can get involved when it is right for them.

You can read the Full Fair Processing Notice for offenders/alleged offenders Restorative Justice (RJ) services here.

Victim Support is the oldest victims’ charity in the world, with more than 40 years’ experience of supporting and working with people affected by crime.

We are able to advise victims about restorative justice and, where appropriate, refer them on to a restorative justice service. Our volunteers have received specialist training about restorative justice and are able to discuss the process with victims.

Our direct links with victims of crime put us in a unique position to assess the needs of victims and provide appropriate support. We can also support victims before, during and after a restorative justice process.

If you’ve experienced crime and would like to find out more about taking part in restorative justice, please contact your local Victim Support team.