Source: (2008) Newsletter of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. 9(3):1-3.

Many proponents of restorative justice assume that the encounter will lead to a balanced process of reconciliation and forgiveness. Articulating a genuine apology will relieve the victim’s distress and restore his/her worth, while expressing forgiveness will instil a sense of reacceptance in the offender. Many proponents do speak in terms of a ‘regretting offender’ and an ‘understanding victim’. In the advocacy literature victims are supposed to be forgiving and prepared to offer offenders a second chance, while offenders are willing to change their behaviour. The question is how realistic these ideals are. Is it reasonable to expect forgiveness and reconciliation between people who do not know each other and might have very diverging views on the criminal event? Do forgiveness and reconciliation play a dominant role during the process? (excerpt)