Source: (2008) Report of the fifth conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, Building restorative justice in Europe: cooperation between the public, policy makers, practitioners and researchers, Verona.

This paper makes three points. First of all it will discuss some main issues whereby the private and public functions of victim-offender encounters may be at odds with each other and will question the wisdom of striving to meet both these functions at the same time, in particular in the case of more serious and violent offences. Like Van Stokkom’s paper the effects of apologies will be discussed. That will in the second place lead the presenter to assert that in these cases it may be preferable to view restorative justice as a complement to criminal justice rather than an alternative. Thirdly the discussion of the public and private features of restorative justice may be furthered by examining different crime contexts that have inherently public or private features. In the final section of the presentation the presenter will reflect first on terrorist acts, which have a highly public dimension, due to the fact that the act was committed to scare, frighten or threaten a wider audience rather than the direct victim. Second it will discuss the issue of intimate partner violence, which by contrast has more private features. The presenter will contend that these differences in crime contexts should also affect the positioning and structuring of restorative justice procedures in general, but in particular their relationship to its public and private features. (excerpt)