What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice enables victims to meet or communicate with their offender to explain the real impact of the crime they have committed and to ask questions important to them. It helps to repair the damage caused by criminality and puts the needs of the victim first. When a crime takes place, restorative justice can be used to give the victim, offender and occasionally members of the community the chance to come together and discuss how the harm can be rectified. The process not only helps victims gain closure on their cases by explaining to offenders the impact of their actions, it also encourages offenders to take responsibility for their behaviour. The long-term goal of restorative justice is to reduce criminality; research shows offenders who take part in restorative justice with their victims are less likely to reoffend.
When is it used?
Restorative Justice can only be used when the offender accepts responsibility for the crime and the victim agrees to a restorative approach. Restorative Justice can be used at any stage of the criminal justice system and can be delivered across all offences. Victim participation is always voluntary and delivered at a pace to suit the individual. Restorative justice is not a soft option – facing up to their actions is very difficult for many offenders. Victim participation is always voluntary and based entirely on the informed choice of the victim.
Who can use it?
Victims and offenders can self-refer into the service to explore the possibility of participating in restorative justice. Restorative justice can be used by Police Officers and Partner Agency staff across Derbyshire. Restorative approaches can also be used in family and neighbourhood conflicts.
How does it work?
When an offence is committed, police officers will discuss the use of restorative justice with the victim, the offender and any other third party. Victims may also be contacted at a later stage of the criminal justice process to offer them the opportunity to take part. In all cases where the victim is interested a trained facilitator will meet with them to discuss their options for involvement. Victims, at all times, are then given the opportunity to make an informed choice regarding their wishes to take part or not.
What are the different types of restorative intervention?
Types of Restorative Justice include:
- Face-to-face meeting between the victim/s and offender/s- this is only facilitated after careful preparation and would take place in a controlled environment with facilitators present throughout.
- Written communication- Facilitators will take the various questions the victim has to the offender and seek a written response to those questions.
- ‘Shuttle RJ’- A facilitator exchanging information/answers between the victim and offender verbally without them meeting.
Service users feedback quotes:
"I think RJ is excellent for both parties and can bring peace to people’s life."
"You have been amazing, and my rock thank you so much for everything you have done for me, you have been everything."
"RJ has helped me so much, I am truly grateful for all your support. Without you I would not have come this far. RJ has helped me to face my fears and work through it"
“I would like to thank Remedi for giving the community the chance and the voice to explain to the Offender how their actions affected us all.”
"Laura thank you so much for your help and support, you'll never know how much it means to us. Naively I thought this sort of thing happened to other people. On your bad days just remember you've been a lifeline for us."
"It was a relief that Natasha was able to carry out Restorative Justice so efficiently and with great respect. Having that conversation about the severity of the situation I was involved in really reinstated the realisation that my life would be vastly different if this took an alternate route."
How to refer:
Remedi (Restorative Services) are commissioned by The Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner to provide Restorative Justice Provision across Derbyshire.
The Derbyshire Restorative Justice Hub is available Monday to Friday.
If you have been harmed by an offence or you are responsible for causing harm and would like to explore potential involvement in Restorative Justice, please contact us using one of the following options:
Call: 0300 122 7553