Source: (2005) Workshop 2: Enhancing Criminal Justice Reform Including Restorative Justice, 22 April, Item 8 (b) of the provisional agenda, at the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Bangkok, Thailand. Downloaded 20 May 2005.

The challenges of the criminal justice system, including the needs of crime victims and the growing attention for restorative justice as an alternative to retributive criminal procedures, have attracted the attention of the United Nations Congress in Bangkok (April 2005). This paper unites both interests in analysing the evolution and implementation of restorative justice practices in Belgium in light of the developments concerning the policy in favour of victims in the same country. In this paper, we will essentially analyze the evolution of the position of victims of crime committed by adult offenders. Therefore, the first part of our contribution discusses the victim policy developments in Belgium. The second part deals with the description of restorative justice developments for adult offenders at the level of policy and practices in the same country. Finally, the last part of this contribution focuses on the parallels between policies and practices in both fields and in particular aims to argue how restorative practices for adult offenders and victim policy currently implemented in Belgium answer to the victim's needs and rights, as they have been formulated by the Belgian National Forum for Victim Policy. In addition, we will explore the complementarity between restorative justice developments and the policy in favour of victims, which transcend the Belgian boundaries. Our discussion is mainly based on analyses of national legislation, on results of evaluative research having already been conducted in the field of restorative justice and on ongoing research regarding the consideration of victims in the criminal justice system in Belgium, and on the study of the scientific literature on victim policy and restorative justice. It is therefore to be considered as an inductive process of reflection, which can produce new research questions and more profound empirical analyses. (excerpt)


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