Source: (2004) Restorative Practices E-Forum. 10 February 2004. Bethlehem, PA: International Institute for Restorative Practices. Downloaded 9 March 2004.

The general goal of modern restorative justice is to create a process for reconciliation between defendants who accept responsibility for their offenses; their victims; and their community, family, and friends who are affected by the crimes. Some complain that a shortcoming of restorative justice is its failure to address the needs of victims when they do not meet with offenders, a circumstance that is not uncommon. In an effort to remedy this weakness in restorative justice services, the project profiled in this paper provides a small-group setting for victims to talk about how they have been affected by the crime and what might help them in repairing the harm. The project is operated by two co-facilitators who have themselves been crime victims. When a session includes only the victim and the facilitators, it is called a restorative conversation; and when the victim brings one or more supporters to the meeting, it is called a circle of care. Before the actual session, a facilitator meets with victims to discuss what to expect in the meeting, which is held at a place and time convenient for the victim. Most of the victims have chosen to meet alone with the facilitators at the victims' homes. The facilitators ask the victims questions that help them tell their stories. A written plan for victim services may be developed as a result of the meeting. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.


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