Restorative Justice FAQ

What Is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is a justice system that has been established in order to offer answers to victims, and to help offenders to see the impact that their crimes and actions have had on others. The victim is typically allowed to tell, or show, the offender how the offence has affected them, and they may be allowed to ask questions to determine why they were targeted, or why the offender did what they did.

What Is An RJ Conference?
A Restorative Justice (RJ) Conference is the meeting, set up by a facilitator between the victim and the offender. Although this is only one possible conclusion to the RJ process, it is considered one of the most effective, because of the interaction that takes place between the two parties. However, there are certain circumstances that must be met in order for an RJ conference to be set up and agreed to.

What Is The Role Of The Facilitator?
The facilitator is a trained and accredited professional that facilitates a conference, or other form of restorative justice between two parties. They are most commonly used in criminal justice cases, and they will consider many factors, but especially the wishes of the victim, to determine whether a conference or another alternative, is the best and most viable proposition. Videos, phone calls, and letters may be used in addition to, or as a replacement for, the conference itself and the facilitator will usually determine the most appropriate combination of contact methods.

Who Are The RJC?
The Restorative Justice Council, or RJC, is the body that oversees quality assurance and helps to promote the best possible standards in restorative justice. They are firmly behind the use of this system in many aspects of modern life, and it is they that set best practices and guide those that wish to enter the industry.

Is Restorative Justice Available To All Victims?
There are certain criteria that must be fulfilled for a conference, or other form of RJ, to be considered viable. The offender must have pleaded guilty to the crime that he was sentenced with, and the victim must obviously agree to the process. In order for a meeting to take place between the two parties, the offender must also agree, but where this consent is not given, there may still be other options available, including the recording of a video message for the offender.

Is It Safe?
The facilitator will always consider the safety of the victim as the most important factor. Any meeting will be overseen, and safeguards put in place to ensure the safety of the victim. If there is any threat or chance of the victim being put in danger, then it is the role of the facilitator to ensure that the meeting does not go ahead in order that the victim be protected.

Is RJ Effective?
Numerous studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of restorative justice, and all of the statistics and findings point to restorative justice as being highly effective. 85% of those victims that were offered and took part in the scheme said that they were satisfied with it, and the Matrix Report has concluded that a total of £1bn could be saved over the lifetime of the RJ scheme. This would be achieved through a drop in reoffending rates of between 17% and 27% as has already been shown.

Do I Have To Meet With My Attacker?
There are many victims who want answers, but that do not want to meet with their attacker, at least initially. You can speak to a facilitator to discuss your options, but you will never be pressured in to having a face-to-face meeting, and there are a number of viable alternatives to the personal conference, that you can take advantage of.