Restorative justice enables victims to meet or communicate with their offender to explain the full impact on them of the crime which they have experienced and to ask questions important to them. It helps to repair the damage caused by the crime, often by showing the victim the reality of who the offender is, but it puts the needs of the victim first. When a crime has taken place, restorative justice can be used to give the victim, offender and, occasionally, members of the community the chance to come together and discuss how the harm can be rectified.
The process not only gives victims a voice and helps them gain closure on their cases by explaining to offenders the impact of their actions; it also encourages offenders to take responsibility for their behaviour. The long-term goal of restorative justice is to reduce crime. Research shows offenders who take part in restorative justice with their victims are less likely to reoffend.
When is it used?
Restorative Justice can only be used when the offender accepts responsibility for the crime and the victim agrees to a restorative approach. Restorative Justice can be used at any stage of the criminal justice system and can be delivered across all offences. Victim participation is always voluntary, based entirely on the victim’s informed choice and delivered at a pace to suit the individual. Restorative Justice is not a soft option – for many offenders, facing up to their actions is very difficult.
Who provides restorative justice?
The Signpost Hub has been commissioned to facilitate restorative justice in Bedfordshire.
Freephone: 0800 0282 887
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Closed bank holidays. Out of hours you can leave a voicemail and we will call back.
How does it work?
When an offence is committed, Victim care Co-ordinators and police officers will discuss using restorative justice with the victim, the offender and any other third party. Victims may also be contacted at a later stage of the criminal justice process to offer them the opportunity to take part. In all cases where the victim is interested, a trained facilitator will meet them to discuss their options for involvement. Victims, at all times, are then given the opportunity to make an informed choice regarding their wish to take part or not.
Where to find further information?
For further information visit restorative justice on the Signpost Hub's website.