Have you been the victim of a crime?
Do you still think about it?
Do you have unanswered questions?
Is there more that you need to say?
Restorative Justice could help you.
How to Take Part
I have been harmed by crime, how can Restorative Justice help me?
The restorative justice process is led and mediated by a trained facilitator who supports and prepares both participants taking part. The facilitator is able to talk you through the process, answer any questions that you may have and explain what will happen every step of the way. This allows you the chance to explore what will work best for you.
What support is available?
The Facilitator assigned to you will guide you through the process. They will complete all necessary eligibility, suitability and risk assessments and will meet with you regularly. This will help the Facilitator to understand what happened, and the effect, that the crime has had on you personally, emotionally, financially, and socially. They will discuss the options available and answer any questions you may have, providing reassurance and support throughout. As Restorative Justice is entirely voluntary, it will only go ahead with both participants consent and you can pull out at any time, including on the day of a conference or even while the meeting is going on.
A face-to-face meeting can bring the greatest benefits, but indirect communication, such as by phone or video shuttle can also be arranged if appropriate, the facilitator will decide on whether a meeting will go ahead if it safe to do so
Even if you decide not to bring anybody with you, the facilitator will always be there.
The Restorative Justice Facilitator will also meet with the offender to establish their agreement in taking part, and will undertake further eligibility, suitability and risk assessments.
Restorative Justice differs from the traditional criminal justice, in how it approaches and guides its questioning. In Restorative justice practice, the questions may center around:
- Who has been hurt?
- What are their needs?
- Whose obligations are these?
- What are the causes?
- Who has a stake in the situation?
- What is the appropriate process to involve stakeholders in an effort to address causes and put things right?
In contrast, traditional criminal justice ask:
1. What laws have been broken?
2. Who did it?
3. What does the offender deserve?
If you’ve been the victim of a crime, it can be difficult to imagine the thought of meeting the person responsible for the harm they have caused you, however, for many people, being able to talk in a safe environment about what happened and how the crime affected them can help them to move forward from the experience. This process is called Restorative Practice, and it can be used in everything from neighbour disputes to serious crimes. Evidence shows that 85% of those harmed who decide to go through the process, come away feeling satisfied
How to take part in Restorative Justice
On receipt of your computerised Referral Form a member of the Restorative Justice team will contact you to discuss Restorative practice further.
Remember that Restorative Justice will always be at your pace; the process is voluntary and you can choose to withdraw at any time.
Download our service leaflet: Restorative Justice Leaflet
A trained Restorative Justice facilitator meets both parties before arranging a meeting. Alternatively, the participants may prefer to communicate indirectly, or not to go ahead with the process at all.
Here are the steps which traditionally take place in a restorative process.
1. Deciding you want Restorative Justice
Either the person harmed by crime or the person responsible can ask for Restorative Justice. If a case is going through court, a restorative process won’t be able to progress until after this process has concluded. Otherwise, it can happen at any time.
The person harmed by the crime should be informed about Restorative Justice by the police, victim services, the youth offending team or another point of contact, where they will be offered the option of receiving support from the Staffordshire Victim Gateway and Restorative Justice Service. If a person wants to self refer, this can also be an option.
2. First steps
The first step of a Restorative process is to have an initial meeting with a restorative practitioner. This allows the harmed person to talk about the impact of the crime, what they are thinking, and feeling now, and what they want to happen next.
Both parties need to consent for Restorative Justice to take place, so the facilitator will also be in touch with the perpetrator to ask if they wanted to take part.
If both parties agree to take part in Restorative Justice, the facilitator will prepare them for a meeting (conference). The facilitator meets with both parties separately to discuss what they may want to say to each other, and what their feelings are about the incident now and the impact it has caused.
These meetings will continue until participants are fully prepared for the conference. If the facilitator is satisfied that it is safe for the meeting to go ahead, and that both the person harmed and person responsible for the harm are ready to proceed they will arrange a date for the conference
4. The meeting
The Restorative Justice Conference is a meeting between the person who was harmed and the person responsible for the harm, along with two trained Restorative Justice facilitators. Both parties can also have supporters present, such as a friend who was also affected by the crime, or a support worker.
All of those present sit in a circle, with the facilitator sat between the person harmed and the person responsible for the harm.
The lead facilitator starts by setting the ground rules, which include no interrupting, and that anyone can take a break or stop the process at any time. The facilitator will then ask the person who committed the crime questions such as: “can you tell me what happened”, “how did you feel at the time” and “who was affected by the incident?”
The facilitator then asks similar questions to the person affected by the crime, and to the other people in the room. This will help to facilitate a dialogue about the incident and the impact that it had. If appropriate, the facilitator will help the participants to produce an outcome agreement. This lays out what steps the person responsible for the harm could take to put things right, or address the harm they have caused.
As always in a restorative process, everything in the outcome agreement will need to be agreed by both parties.
In the days following the Conference meeting, the facilitator will speak to both parties to see how they feel, and check that they got what they wanted out of the process.
6. Other ways to do Restorative Justice
The greatest potential benefit is often gained from a face to face meeting. But if this is not practical or desirable to one party, other restorative conversations may still be able to take place. The two parties may exchange restorative letters, or send messages by video shuttle. Restorative Justice can sometimes take place with a proxy in place of the victim or offender, if one person does not want to take part. Restorative Justice can be flexible to fit the needs of the people participating.
7 in 10 people who use our Restorative Justice service are happy with the outcome.