Source: (2006) Papers presented at the Fourth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, “Restorative justice: An agenda for Europe”, Barcelona, Spain, 15-17 June 2006.

The presentation aims to analyse the evolution of restorative justice practices in Belgium in the light of the policy in favour of victims and hence to explore the potential paradoxes between restorative justice developments and victim policy. It focuses on the way the Belgian criminal justice system currently deals with victims in cases of serious violence. I a first part of the presentation, the contrast between existing programs (victim oriented programs such as victim impact statements at the level of conditional release and restorative justice programs such as mediation for redress) will be explored at a discursive level. In a second part of the presentation, results from interviews with victims and observations in victim services realised in the framework of an evaluative research on victim policy developed by the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology will be discusses. Case studies and victim perceptions of the current measures implemented both in the field of victim programs and restorative justice programs will be presented. The purpose of the contribution is to highlight to which extent victim oriented and restorative justice programmes have the potential to answer to victims’ need and the explore potential paradoxes of restorative justice. (excerpt)