Include Restorative Justice in the Victims Law
Include Restorative Justice in the Victims Law
Restorative Justice transforms lives. By allowing people who have been harmed by crime to communicate with the person responsible, it gives them the opportunity to seek answers, express how they were affected by the crime, and explain what could put things right. This can also help the perpetrator to see the real impact of their actions and change their behaviour.
Restorative interventions are already being used across the country, and the majority of victims of crime who take part report that they feel safer, better informed, more empowered, more able to cope with aspects of their life, and that their health and wellbeing has improved. But, the overwhelming majority of people harmed by crime are never made aware that Restorative Justice is an option. Many people affected by crime remain trapped in a cycle of trauma that they are unable to escape from.
This needs to change.
The Government is proposing to make these rights legally enforceable through a Victims’ Law in Parliament. We are calling on the Justice Secretary Dominic Raab to ensure that the right to access Restorative Justice is included in this legislation, so more people affected by crime have the opportunity to heal and have their voices heard.
Real life stories
Restorative Justice can be transformative for people affected by crime. Here are the stories of some of the people whose lives have been changed by Restorative Justice.
Peter had committed, by his own reckoning, over 20,000 crimes when he burgled and assaulted businessman Will Riley. But everything changed when the two men met in Pentonville prison through Restorative Justice. Will was furious with Peter, having been left afraid every time he opened his own front door. Hearing first hand about Will's experience, Peter realised for the first time how much damage he had caused through his offending. He never committed another crime, and supported Will to found a charity supporting wider access to Restorative Justice - Why me?. The men remain friends.
After Janika suffered a violent knife attack at the hands of her partner, she realised that he was the only person that could answer her questions about why the attack happened.
“I wanted him to be accountable to me – not to a judge, not to the police, not to prison officers but to me. I felt my voice wasn’t being heard. Taking part in Restorative Justice was the key that unlocked the door to my future.”
Dave and Pat’s son Adam was killed trying to break up a fight on a night out. After the court case was over, Dave felt a need to talk to the young man who’d been convicted of the killing.
“After I got into the room and we sat down, the first thing he did was apologise. I think the whole thing was harrowing for him. I think he knew at this point that he’d done a lot of harm”.
Lucy was left hospitalised with life-changing injuries after her ex-partner attacked her in her home.
“If someone had said ‘no’ to me having Restorative Justice, I don’t think the curtains would be open. I wouldn’t be outside, I would be indoors, just a nervous wreck, panicking about everything.”
“It’s like when someone says there’s no quick fix but that was it, that was the turning point for me. That was the beginning of the rest of my life.”
Wendy was sexually abused by her father when she was 14 years old, 40 years later she took part in a Restorative Justice process with him.
“I am definitely a totally different person than I was before the Restorative Justice experience.”
“My nearest and dearest had suffered alongside me for as many years as I had, once that darkness had gone from me, it was and still is a far brighter day for all of us.”
Sign and share this petition to help more people access Restorative Justice.
More about Why me?
Why me? are a national charity who deliver and campaign for Restorative Justice.
We rely on grants and donations for much of our funding. If you want to support Why me?’s mission to deliver and campaign for Restorative Justice for everyone affected by crime, please make a donation.
More about Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice gives people who have been harmed by crime the chance to talk about the impact of the incident and seek answers about why it happened. The process is mediated by trained facilitators who work with both parties in advance to help them understand what their needs are and what they want to say. The intervention can involve a face to face meeting between the harmed person and the perpetrator, or other methods of communication such as letter-writing or video messages if the participants would prefer. This can take place alongside any other interventions from the justice system, ranging from an out of court disposal to a long prison sentence. All that is needed is for both parties to agree to take part, and a trained facilitator to agree that it is safe. Restorative practice can also be used to address conflict outside of the justice system, such as in schools or in the workplace.