How can the damage done by crime be addressed? One approach is to bring together the person harmed by the crime and the offender. This gives each the chance to say how the crime has affected them. Questions can be asked and explanations given. This can happen face to face or via writing. This video gives a short explanation of restorative justice:
This process can help the victims achieve closure, as well as giving them a sense of being heard. They can also play a role in agreeing work that the offender does to repair the harm caused. Therefore offenders have the opportunity to understand and consider how their actions affected another human being. They have the chance to apologise and to make amends where appropriate. There is some evidence that restorative justice helps victims to recover and reduces reoffending.
Here is a local family member of a victim of crime talking about her experience of restorative justice:
Restorative justice is encouraged by Catholic reports into criminal justice, such as ‘A place for redemption: A Christian approach to punishment and prison’, ‘The right road: a Catholic approach to prison reform’ and ‘A journey of hope: A Catholic approach to sentencing reform’.
For local contacts to get involved, whether as a victim, offender, or as a volunteer, see our directory.