Restorative Justice (RJ) – what does it mean?  How many of us actually know what the term relates to and how it can help a victim cope and recover after a crime has been committed against them?

Restorative justice is a process that provides the opportunity to bring together a victim and an offender, providing an opportunity to ask questions.  This can be done either face to face (direct) or through letters, cards or messages (in-direct).

Restorative Justice gives a victim the opportunity to cope and recover after the impact of a crime against them.

By providing the opportunity to meet face to face with the offender, it gives the victim a voice.  Not all questions are answered in court during the proceedings, especially the personal ones.  The ones that will help them sleep at night.  Only the offender can provide those details and reassure them.

These questions could be making somebody feel anxious, scared, lonely or confused.  These questions play out in their mind daily, affecting their home life, their work life and their peace of mind.quote-2

Restorative Justice provides an opportunity for the victim to tell the offender how the crime has affected them and get answers to their questions.  They can tell them how they feel, the impact the crime has had on them and their family and sometimes receive a personal apology.  This can help victims with the final pieces of a jigsaw and help them move forward, to get on with their lives.

The South Yorkshire Restorative Justice Hub works to assess suitable cases for restorative justice and make contact with the victim once the case has been to court.  A victim will receive a call from our specialist provider Remedi, to determine if they have an interest in pursuing restorative justice.

Remedi work with the victim to help prepare them for Restorative Justice, and work with the offender to determine if both individuals are happy to progress with RJ.  RJ is completely voluntary in that both parties must agree to it.  All cases are risk assessed to ensure no further harm can come to the victim or offender.

In cases of in-direct restorative justice, letters or questions may be passed between the victim and offender.  An offender may write a letter of apology to the victim explaining why they committed the offence and why that particular victim.

Victims often have unanswered questions that only the offender can answer.

If, as a victim, you feel Restorative Justice could help you or you wish to find out more about it from a trained Restorative Justice practitioner, please contact us.

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