How do victims and their advocates define restorative justice? Following are some definitions; others are contained in the articles in this section. In what ways are these definitions different from those presented by others? One difference is that all of these emphasize the importance -- the centrality -- of the victim.

"Restorative justice is an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of programs and approaches. In general, restorative justice proponents seek a holistic, integrated sense of justice and healing for victims, as well as personal accountability from offenders. For some, the concept of restorative justice extends to the broader communities affected, the idea being that healing and justice are interconnected for everyone.

"Advocates of restorative justice do not dispute the need to sanction or punish offenders; rather, they maintain that punishment alone may not be sufficient for victims' healing and justice."

From Witness Justice

"Victim Support recognises that restorative justice has benefits for those victims who want it. Many victims have a psychological need for information after a crime that will help them to make sense of their experience, and which only the offender can supply. Victim Support believes that a restorative justice process can help provide this information which in turn can help the victim to recover from the crime and alleviate their fear of future crime. Some victims value the opportunity to tell the offender how the crime affected them. Reparation to the victim can also benefit them."

From Victim Support's (UK) Policy on Restorative Justice in Criminal Justice

"The victim is central to the restorative justice process and Victim Support is concerned to ensure their full participation.

"It must be a process that brings healing and closure for them. Victims need to have good, accurate and full information about what it's going to be like at a conference."

Marie Knight, New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups