Source: (2002) Paper to Second Conference of the European Forum for Victim/Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice. Oostende, Belgium, 10-12 October 2002.

Many people have commented on the difficulty of defining restorative justice. It is like a growing child: as soon as its parents have provided some clothes, it has grown and more are needed. The idea of community involvement in the process is just one example. Its grandparents, so to speak, come from different backgrounds; and many of them were practitioners rather than theorists. This paper will consider how restorative justice started with programmes that brought the community into the criminal justice system or diverting cases out of it, ending with the use of restorative justice outside the system. (excerpt)