What's involved for the affected party?
As the affected party(victim), participation in the Restorative Justice process means that your needs are the focus. How have you or your organization been harmed? What is required to repair this harm? How does the offender proceed with this reparation? Typically the following steps are relevant to the affected party in the restorative justice process:
How long will it take?
The length of time a restorative justice process takes to complete depends on several things. These include but are not limited to, the severity/type of offence, readiness of victim(s) or offenders to face each other and the issues at hand, or the amount of items that must be satisfied by the offender as laid out in the Restorative Justices Agreement. Some cases take a matter of weeks, while others take more than a year. Most cases are completed somewhere between 3 and 6 months.
The Process and You
Our primary goals is to satisfy the needs of victims and we strive to provide them with an active role in the justice process. As we are a victim centered organization, we always do our utmost to provide them with information, preparation, resources, and support.
Why do victims decide to participate in the Restorative Justice option?
There are many reasons that victims of crime might participate in restorative justice, and many of them report being satisfied with the process and results.
- They may have questions for the offender.
- They want the offender to understand the impact their actions have had on themselves, their family, and others.
- They may want restitution to cover damages or losses that they have experienced as a result of the offence.
- They may feel that speaking directly with the offender can provide them with a sense of closure that allowing them to move on from the effects of the offence.
- They may be aware that these kinds of interactions with the offender likely would not be available to them in court.
- They may recognize the opportunity to help an offender understand the reasons behind their actions and engage in corrective learning.
Participation in restorative justice is voluntary for all, including victims. Some victims will feel a restorative justice approach is more effective than the court system in addressing their needs. Others prefer to have the criminal justice system handle their case. Both choices are valid. For victims who do chose to participate, we understand that not all will want to meet directly with the offender, but may agree to be involved in some other way. There are many ways in which victims can participate in restorative justice. All of the options will be explored with each victim individually to ensure that the restorative justice process is tailored to meet their needs.