What is Restorative Justice (RJ)?
Restorative Justice is about victims and offenders communicating in a supported environment to discuss the harm that has been caused and how to find a way to repair that harm and providing a means of closure.
For victims, meeting the person who has harmed them can be a huge step in moving forward, by giving them a voice and helping them to recover from the crime.
For offenders, the experience can help them understand the harm caused and the impact of their behaviour and give them an opportunity to make amends.
What’s in it for me?
Restorative justice gives you a chance to communicate directly or indirectly with the other person and discuss what happened. It can help you gain an understanding, describe your feelings and ask questions. Most importantly it can repair the harm caused.
With restorative justice we provide an alternative way of dealing with an offence or incident, the process is focused on the needs of the individuals involved. You can also involve a friend, family member or professional support.
Your restorative justice facilitators will be there to support and guide you throughout the process, they will help you feel safe, at ease and fully prepared. The facilitators take their lead from you and you can change your mind at any time.
Initially you will meet with a restorative justice facilitator to discuss:
- How you and others were affected by the incident
- What you’d like to achieve through communication with the other person to make things better
- Any questions and concerns you may have
After this, you will be able to decide whether you want to meet or communicate with the other person.
When can restorative justice be used?
Restorative justice can be used in a variety of situations from anti-social behaviour to the most serious of crimes. It can be used at any stage of the criminal justice process.
There are three basic requirements that must be met before communication can take place:
- The offender must take some responsibility for the crime
- Both the victim and the offender must be willing to participate
- It has to be safe for both the victim and the offender to be involved in the process
Does restorative justice work?
Government research, along with success stories, proves that RJ can benefit a wide range of victims and offenders. When asking those who had been supported by the service:
How can I take part?
Please get in touch if you would like to find out more or take part in Restorative Justice. We can then talk things over with you in confidence and answer any questions you might have. You can get in touch by:
Telephone – 0117 9415879
Mobile/Text – 07377 864060 / 07377864061
Email – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Caseworkers are available Monday to Friday. If you send a text or leave a message they will call you back.
Restorative Approaches Avon and Somerset
On June 1, 2017, a new single restorative justice service covering the whole of Avon and Somerset went live, providing a single point of contact for restorative justice in the area.
The service named “Restorative Approaches Avon and Somerset” or RAAS for short is being delivered by Bristol Mediation in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police and is an amalgamation of the existing Bristol Neighbourhood Justice Team (NJT) and North East Restorative Approaches (NERAP).
The new service aims to:
- Provide a holistic approach to RJ services centred around the victim
- A simplified process with a single point of contact in order to provide tailored and integrated support
- Develop the service so that it can be more targeted and increase capacity across the region
- Raise the profile of the service so that restorative approaches are used more widely in supporting community problem solving and out of court disposals
- Increase the availability for restorative workshops and pre and post sentence RJ.
A new contract is in place from 1 April 2019. To find out more click here.