Restorative justice enables victims to meet or communicate with their offender to explain the real impact of the crime. This is part of a wider field called restorative practice.
The practice can be used anywhere to prevent conflict, build relationships and repair harm by enabling people to communicate effectively and positively. It is increasingly being used in schools, children’s services, workplaces, hospitals, communities and the criminal justice system.
The purpose is to provide a proactive approach to preventing harm and conflict.
Where conflicts have already arisen, a facilitated meeting can be held. This enables individuals and groups to work together to improve their mutual understanding of an issue and to jointly reach the best available solution.
The practice supports people to recognise that all of their activities affect others and that people are responsible for their choices and actions and should be held accountable for them. It enables people to reflect on how they interact with each other and consider how best to prevent harm and conflict.
Restorative justice received widespread support from the coalition government with targeted funding and the introduction of legislation enabling it to take place at every stage of the criminal justice system. The police, judiciary, and criminal justice agencies responsible for delivering innovative rehabilitative services are turning to restorative justice in the knowledge it reduces reoffending.