Given that restorative justice is a voluntary process, it can only take place when people feel ready and wish to have a conversation about what happened and how they have been impacted by harm.
When a crime has been committed, restorative justice can be offered to you multiple times, and you can access it at various stages of the criminal justice process. Depending on where you are in your journey, there are several local service providers that can offer you detailed information about restorative justice, as well as support if you decide to take part in it. The Directory section on this website lists some of the restorative justice providers that are available in the East Midlands region. Feel free to contact them directly for information about restorative justice.
Once you decide that restorative justice is a process that fits your needs and you wish to take part in it, here is what you should generally expect after contacting a local restorative justice provider:
- You will be offered an initial meeting with a restorative justice practitioner, with whom you will discuss in confidence the details of your situation and the reasons for wanting to take part in a restorative justice process.
- If all parties consent to taking part in restorative justice, the next step is the preparation of the process. You will decide together with the practitioner and the other people involved how best to have the restorative conversation, you will clarify any expectations and rules of the conversation and a safe space will be created for everyone involved.
- The next step is the restorative justice process itself. How this is conducted depends on what was agreed. But no matter what means of communication is used, the restorative conversation will be around what happened, everyone’s views and feelings about this, how different people were harmed and what needs to happen next to address the harm. A successful restorative justice process usually results in a written agreement.
- After the restorative justice process, the practitioner will get in touch with everyone to follow up and check whether the things that were agreed on have happened. It is important to note that at this point you can request for further support; in this case the restorative justice practitioner may signpost you to another service.
The first video of this page shows a shortened account of an actual restorative justice meeting. The film produced by Why Me? and the Restorative Justice Council uses actors to portray the words of real people.
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A facilitator will be there to assist you throughout the entire restorative justice process, so that you can feel in control of what happens and to what extent. You can also decide who will support you in the process, such as family members and friends. If you feel that you cannot meet the offender face-to-face, but you still want your voice to be heard, you can appoint a proxy. You can withdraw from the process at any time, without any consequences arising from this.[/expand]
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You will be assisted by a facilitator throughout the entire restorative justice process, so that you can build the strength to acknowledge the harm caused, answer appropriately any questions that the victim and their supporters might have, and find ways to make amends if you wish to do so. You can withdraw from the process at any time, without any consequences arising from this.[/expand]
[expand title=”Information for family members and friends“]
A facilitator will be there to assist you throughout the entire restorative justice process, so that you can make the most of your participation and offer the best support that you can provide to those you care about.[/expand]
[expand title=”Information for professionals“]
Your contribution to the restorative justice process will depend on your job role and the professional relationship with those taking part in the process. If anyone you work with have expressed an interest in taking part in a restorative justice process, please access the Directory section on this website that lists some of the restorative justice providers that are available in the East Midlands region. Feel free to contact them directly for information about restorative justice.[/expand]
As mentioned before, restorative justice processes can also be accessed for matters outside of the criminal justice system. For example, in children’s social care, families that are facing problems can request social services to organise for them a family group conference, which is a particular type of restorative justice. Family group conferences allow families to draw their own plans on how to best care for their children, and these plans can inform the decisions of social services. For more information about the family group conference process, you can watch the second video on this page produced by the Family Rights Group.