VCAS are here to help you cope, recover, and thrive following a crime. Restorative Justice can be included as part of your unique recovery process at any point during the criminal justice process.
You can speak to us at any time to say you’re interested in the process. Alternatively, with your consent, a police officer or partner organisation may refer you to us.
Offender admits crime
For this process to take place, the offender must have admitted to committing the crime and both the victim and the offender have to be willing to participate.
Facilitator meets victim
Once your referral is received it will be picked up by one of our facilitators who will gather as much information on the offence as possible and then look to meet with you to discuss your needs, understand what you are looking to achieve and if suitable to proceed, begin preparing you for the process.
Facilitator meets Offender
Once your facilitator(s) are confident you understand the process and it is safe to progress they will also meet with the other party to discuss their willingness to engage and assess their suitability.
Communication between parties
If both parties agree to engage and all safeguarding conditions are met, communication between both sides can take place via letter, through indirect communication or face to face with a facilitator in a safe, controlled environment.
Are the agreements legally binding?
No, agreements made during RJ are not legally binding but, in some cases, reports may be submitted to the Police/courts/probation detailing the engagement of both parties and any agreements made during the process.
At what point in the CJS can this take place?
RJ can take place at any stage of the criminal justice process including after conviction, as long as the offender has accepted responsibility (i.e. pleaded guilty) and can also form part of sentencing, especially with children and young people.
Can this be used for any type of crime?
RJ can potentially be used for any type of crime. However, there are certain offences which can pose challenges for the restorative process, for example sexual offences, hate crime and domestic violence.
In these cases, the process will require much more thorough risk assessment and may take longer to complete.
Do I have to take part?
No. RJ is entirely voluntary for both victim and offender and either party may discontinue with the process at any time.
Does it work?
Does it work? Government research shows that 85% of victims who take part find the process helpful. For many meeting the offender can be an important step in moving forward. Research also shows that RJ reduces reoffending by 14%. (Restorative Justice Council website)