Restorative justice and victim services collaboration
from Howard Zehr's entry on Restorative Justice Blog:
....I had a number of energizing engagements coordinated by AUT’s Restorative Justice Centre. The last engagement was a keynote for the national Victim Support Conference, held in Wellington. I had been asked to speak about victims’ justice needs, how restorative justice seeks to address them, and how the restorative justice and victim support communities could connect better with one another. I was encouraged by the group’ enthusiasm for engaging with restorative justice. In fact, in at least one area in the South Island, such collaboration has already begun between youth justice and victim support.The question in New Zealand now is how to move this forward in both the youth justice and adult justice spheres.
.....Restorative justice is intended to make victims and their needs a
priority - not the only priority, but a central one. To do that,
practitioners and programs must be truly victim-sensitive. Unless we
deeply and constantly engage with victim perspectives, we are likely
to be insensitive to the language, the approaches, the barriers that
turn people off.
I hear frequent complaints from restorative justice practitioners
that victims are not participating, not engaging with their programs.
I often suspect it is because of hidden barriers that only victims and
victim advocates are likely to catch and address and because there
aren’t victim advocates on board to support victims through.
Read the whole entry.