Source: (2001) Paper presented at the Restorative and Community Justice: Inspiring the Future conference, held in Winchester, England, 28-31 March.

Most commonly, restorative justice has been used for comparatively minor crimes. O’Connell, however, explores in this presentation the use of restorative conferences for serious crimes, crimes that often involve high levels of trauma for victims and their families. While acknowledging that there are deep and genuine concerns about bringing victims and offenders together in such scenarios, O’Connell highlights four case studies (firebombing, road death, home invasion, and murder) to argue that restorative conferences have been shown to reduce significantly the level of ongoing trauma experienced by victims and their families.