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Restorative justice: Coming face-to-face with your burglar

July 17, 2014

These are the words of a victim who met their offender through taking part in restorative justice, which gives victims the opportunity to communicate with the offender who harmed them.

This approach has significant benefits.

It gives victims – who are too often marginalised within the justice system – a role at the heart of the criminal justice process.

It gives them a voice and enables them (either directly or through an intermediary) to explain to the offender the impact that the offence had on them, to ask questions, and to potentially receive an explanation and an apology.

Victims can get an enormous sense of relief from being able to express themselves directly to the person who has hurt them and research has demonstrated that restorative justice can help victims to overcome post-traumatic stress and move on with their lives.

Burglary victims, in particular, often feel that they have been targeted deliberately and worry about the burglars coming back.

Finding out, as many do, that they were chosen at random can be a huge relief.

For the offender, restorative justice can help them to understand the impact of their actions, take responsibility for them, and make amends. Putting a face to a previously anonymous victim can be a wake-up call to even the most hardened offender and Ministry of Justice figures credit restorative justice with reducing the frequency of reoffending by 14 per cent.

Restorative justice also saves money at a time when resources are scarce.

Read the full article.


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