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Restorative Justice and the Absent Victim: New Data from the Thames Valley

Hill, R. F. A.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) International Review of Victimology. 9(3): 273-288 .

This article discusses why some victims do not participate in restorative justice meetings. The results presented here are drawn from phase 4 of a larger evaluation of the United Kingdom’s Thames Valley Police restorative cautioning initiative, a full evaluation where restorative sessions were observed and formal interviews were carried out with victims. When reviewing the total of cases in 3 pilot areas from January to April 2000, it was found that in approximately 82 percent of the 334 cases where there had been an identifiable victim, the victim did not attend the restorative session. Transcriptions of the “victim absentâ€? cautions were studied in order to see why the victims did not attend. Results show that there were four reasons why victims did not attend cautions. In over 80 percent of cases the victim had been invited to attend and either wanted to go but could not or declined the offer. For those that wanted to attend the main reasons for not doing so were practical, such as being too busy with work commitments. Victims that did not want to attend the caution made up the largest proportion of the sample (52 percent). Most cited either concern about meeting the offender or a preference to leave the matter to the police as the reason for their decision. Fear of retaliation was evident at a relatively low level. One of the most striking themes to emerge from the data concerns the quality of contact, information, and feedback between the police and the absent victim sample. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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