Source: (2012) Thesis. University of Chester.

This thesis presents original empirical research concerning a restorative justice practice currently operating within England. Specifically, it examines the expectations and experiences of victims participating in a restorative practice. It establishes the extent to which victims‘ expectations may impact upon their experiences of the restorative justice process. Throughout this research, original empirical data is presented which demonstrates that victims possess a limited understanding of restorative principles and practices, which persists despite preparatory meetings. This research suggests victims place almost exclusive reliance upon gatekeepers of the process, specifically the police or restorative facilitator, in both the formation of their expectations of the process and in their decisions to participate. This thesis argues that the existence of restorative practices as complex interactionary processes enables victims to experience aspects of the process negatively, whilst continuing to view the process as beneficial. It is submitted that negative experiences can arise from an expectation-reality gap, which the preparatory meetings fail to rectify. Throughout the restorative process, this research demonstrates that victims continue to possess a punitive perspective and continue to rely upon aspects of the traditional criminal justice system and courtroom imagery. Such reliance exists in contradiction to central themes of restorative justice theory, including victim rejection of an empowered decision making role during the process, and the irrelevance of offender remorse. (author's abstract)