Restorative Justice: Better justice for victims of crime?

To paraphrase Daniel van Ness (1983: 3), crime [on the one hand] unleashes a legal contest between the defendant and the state as prosecutor; on the other hand, it also is a personal encounter between the victim-person and the accused person.  Citing Silberman, Robert Elias (1986) points out that crime hurts individuals and groups of people but also threatens “social order”.  As crime violates people and relationships, Howard Zehr (1990: 181) says it “creates obligations to make things right.”

In this paper the principle question is whether restorative justice makes things right for victims of crime.  In other words, does restorative justice deliver a better justice for victims of crime?  It begins with one of the unresolved challenges – the assortment of different ways restorative justice is defined or described.  After Australia’s research findings are summarised.  Next this paper suggests ways to ensure victims’ access to restorative justice and to improve restorative justice in practice.

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3 thoughts on “Restorative Justice: Better justice for victims of crime?

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  1. By your experience or any case’s that you know is RJ really solving and make the victim feel ease with the RJ as the solving way and the villain regretting the crime and felt deterred by the actions he/she did


    1. Dear Ina, thank you for your question. It would not be appropriate for me to draw on my personal experiences. There should be no unnecessary intrusion on victims’ privacy. Such said, when I was employed as the Commissioner for Victims’ Rights and in earlier employment, the victims I assisted had mixed views on ‘family conferencing for young offenders’. Their views were influenced by different factors. The complaints I received focused on the timing and the failure of the offender to complete his or her undertakings, or to commit further crimes. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime has published a second edition of a handbook on restorative justice that has some interesting and relevant examples. Please see I also direct you to Prof Kathy Daly’s professional page that has e-copies of her research reports, chapters and articles on restorative justice. Please see Yours faithfully, Michael


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