What’s in it for ME?
Restorative Justice can bring those harmed by crime, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, giving everyone affected an opportunity to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a way forward. It allows you to have your say, get answers to your questions and a chance to communicate with the offender.
This could be done by meeting in person, by writing to one another, or by relaying messages through an impartial facilitator.
An incident against you can leave you with a variety of feelings and unanswered questions such as ‘Why did this happen to me?’, ‘Was I targeted?’ etc. The incident can affect your life, your employment, your family, your relationships, your children and your confidence. You may be able to recognise the difference in how your life was, and how your life is, following the incident. You can be left feeling alone, insignificant and unsupported to deal with the consequences of what has happened to you.
Restorative Justice has high satisfaction rates among victims who participate (85%), so it’s not surprising that more people are choosing to take advantage of this opportunity. Among the many healing effects of Restorative Justice, victims report:
- feeling empowered
- feeling part of the process
- feeling listened to and acknowledged
- having their peace of mind restored
- regaining their confidence and self-esteem
- finding closure and the strength to move on
When can I do this?
Restorative Justice can take place at any point in your journey and when you feel you may benefit the most. It can take place at any stage of the criminal justice process and beyond, so if the right time is months or years after a conviction, we will do our best to arrange this for you.
How does it work?
If you’ve been a victim of crime, a trained facilitator will arrange to visit you to talk about the impact of what has happened, the consequences this might have had, and what could be done to make things better for you. They will aim to understand your wishes and priorities, run through the options available, and check which one feels right for you. Taking part is entirely voluntary, and you are free to withdraw at any time.
If the crime is going to Court, you will be asked if you would like the opportunity sooner (before sentence) or at a later time.
If you do decide to take part, your facilitator will support you throughout the whole process. They will visit you to clarify what you’d like from the process, and to make sure you are comfortable and happy to proceed. During this time, they will also begin visiting the offender to determine their willingness to be involved. With your permission, they will open the channels of communication by relaying messages between you. Then, when you’re both ready, they will offer you the chance to meet in person to have a carefully structured conversation.
It’s your call…
Remember… Restorative Justice can take place at any time in your journey of recovery and you should never feel pressured into doing it. When you’re ready or would simply like more information, give us a call on the number below.
Telephone: 0300 003 1818
- Download the information leaflet for additional information
- Download the self-referral form (which can be returned to the Restorative Hub by email or post)
If you would like other support and advice following a crime, victims and their families throughout County Durham, Darlington and Cleveland can contact the Victim Care and Advice Service.
You can contact them directly on Tel: 0303 0401099 or visit their website, or speak to the officer dealing with your case.