Restorative Justice From The Perspective Of Crime Victims
AbstractAlthough restorative justice has actually existed throughout history, the focus of this article will be on the recent and accelerating trend in common law legal systems like Australia to establish restorative justice programs. Restorative justice is seen by many commentators as an innovative approach to criminal justice. Instead of the traditional criminal court process, restorative justice generally involves offenders and victims (sometimes together with their respective families) meeting and reaching an agreement for the offender to repair the damage to the victim caused by the crime. It is said to provide benefits to all the main actors in the criminal justice system. First, the offender has a chance to accept responsibility for the harm done by the crime, thus encouraging their rehabilitation. Secondly, the state gains as it diverts cases away from an overloaded criminal justice system, thus saving resources. Finally, and most importantly from the perspective of this article, it enables victims to have a direct role in dealing with the crime that has been committed against them. It is the assumption made by most restorative justice proponents - that involving victims in the various forms of restorative justice will be beneficial for them - that this article intends to tease out and critically assess.
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