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Victim satisfaction with restorative justice: More than simply procedural justice.

Van Camp, Tinneke
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) International Review of Victimology. 19(2):117-143.

Evaluative studies have demonstrated that victims of crime are satisfied with their participation in a restorative intervention. Meanwhile, the explanation of victim satisfaction with restorative practices remains to be established. In this article, we study factors contributing to victim satisfaction with the restorative approach and ask to what extent victim satisfaction is simply due to procedural justice. Procedural justice theory predicts that the perceived fairness of a conflict resolution procedure is not only explained by the favourability of its outcome, but also by the appreciation of procedural factors, such as trust, neutrality, respect and voice, and that procedures can be assessed irrespective of their outcome. We conducted semi-directive interviews with 34 victims of violent crime who participated in victim–offender mediation, family group conferencing or victim–offender encounters in Canada and Belgium. We found that appreciation of a restorative approach is related to it being perceived as procedurally just. However, it is also related to other factors, namely the restorative approach being flexible, providing care, centring on dialogue and permitting pro-social motives to be addressed. These factors are not accounted for by the procedural justice model. Therefore, procedural justice partially but not entirely explains victim satisfaction with restorative practices. (Author’s abstract)


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