Restorative justice aims to address the consequences of crime by encouraging victims and offenders to communicate and discuss the harm caused by the crime that has been committed. In the majority of cases, restorative justice is facilitated by direct and indirect dialogue between victims and offenders, but it also includes support networks and sometimes involves professionals such as police, lawyers, social workers or prosecutors and judges.
In theory, the victim is a core participant in restorative justice and the restoration of the harm is a first concern. In practice, questions arise as to whether the victim is actively involved in the process, what restoration may entail, whether there is a risk of secondary victimisation and whether the victim is truly at the heart of the restorative response, or whether the offender remains the focal point of attention.
Using a combination of victimological literature and empirical data from a European research project, this book considers the role and the position of the victim in restorative justice practices, focusing on legislative, organisational and institutional frameworks of victim-offender mediation and conferencing programmes at a national and local level, as well as the victims’ personal needs and experiences. The findings are essential reading for academics and students engaged in the study of justice, victimology and law. The publication will also be valuable to policymakers and professionals such as social workers, lawyers and mediators.