Who benefits from Restorative Justice?

Victims often want to understand why the crime happened to them. They also want to play some part in the process of what happens to the person who committed the harm.

Victims want to know that they are not likely to be harmed by the same person again, and often they want to know that the offender will not harm anyone else in the future either.

By helping the offender to face up to the consequences of what they have done, Restorative Justice provides the offender with the chance to make a real difference to the victim, and to begin to think about changing their behaviour in the future.

Restorative Justice can help the offender to achieve a positive outcome for both the victim and themselves. It means that the offender has the chance not just to say sorry and feel sorry, but to do something about it.

Research shows that around 60% of victims offered the opportunity to participate in Restorative Justice say yes. For offenders, approached on the basis of having accepted responsibility/pleaded guilty and with a victim who wishes to participate, 75% say yes.

When can Restorative Justice take place?

Restorative Justice can be used to resolve harm and conflict caused by crime and can be used when the victim feels it would support them in their recovery.

It can take place at all stages of the Criminal Justice System (CJS), including Out-of-Court, Pre-Sentence (as part of either an adjournment between plea and sentence or as part of a deferred sentence), and Post-Sentence.

It is important that there is the opportunity for a Restorative Justice activity to take place at the right time for all the participants involved.

Restorative Justice should not disrupt CJS processes or timeliness targets.

Which cases are suitable?

No offence is excluded.

There must be an identifiable victim, an identified harmer or charged offender, and an admission of responsibility or a guilty plea/finding of guilt if the case is proceeding through the courts system.

Restorative Justice should be victim-focused, so that it is their choice whether or not to participate, but the offender also has to agree.

The service is free of charge, completely confidential and impartial. If a victim or offender is being supported by a CJS agency or partner we will update that organisation about the outcomes of Restorative Justice activities.

Will it impact on any sentence?

That is for the sentencer alone to decide. It is not the purpose of Restorative Justice to influence sentencing decisions. That is made clear to both victim and offender at the start.

How do I find out more or make a referral?

The service accepts referrals for all crimes.

The service takes referrals from the police, victims, victims’ services organisations, offender management agencies and any other organisation that is working with victims or offenders.

Any Restorative Justice outcome will be determined in line with both the victim’s and offender’s wishes.

The Restorative Justice procedure will not prejudice the victim, offender or the criminal justice process.

Contact details for referrals

You can refer to Restorative Justice Service for Dorset by contacting the following:

Tel: 07535 692669
Email: RJDorset@restorativesolutions.org.uk

Click below to link to the external referral form:

Offender Referral Form
Victim Referral Form

Referral criteria
• Offenders 18 and over (young offenders will come under the Youth Justice Service)
• Victims of any age
• Any offence type (please note that Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence or Historical Sexual Abuse cases must be victim led)
• Victim must be a resident of Dorset or were resident in Dorset at the time of the offence
• No time restrictions (the case can be recent or decades old)
• If a case is going through court we may wait until it has come to a conclusion

Contact details for Professionals in Dorset:

Please click here for the OPCC website

The OPCC has commissioned Restorative Solutions to provide their local Restorative Justice Service.

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Case Studies

A Street Robbery

Daniel contacted the Restorative Justice team after he committed a street robbery on Carl. “The p...

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Burglary Case

Victim initiated referral after receiving information about Restorative Justice from victim bureau staff when given court result. Victim was still ...

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Burglary: John & Lucy

John burgled Lucy’s home when she was outside hanging out her washing. When she came inside, she found him standing in her property. She describe...

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Injury By Dangerous Driving

The offender, Sam*, had committed the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. This was a first time offence, and he was extremely r...

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Neighbours' Dispute

A neighbours’ dispute had been occurring between John*, who owned a house adjoining a public right of way, and Frank*, who was the son of the own...

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Non-Recent Child Sexual Abuse

The offences against Joshua were of a sexual nature and were committed in the 1980s, when Joshua was aged between 10 and 15 years old. To...

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What People Say About Restorative Justice

The facilitators have been wonderful. I feel stronger than I did. I would really recommend Restorative Justice.

Burglary Victim

Thank you for the letter, it has made a real difference to how I feel about what happened

From victim of a criminal damage to vehicle where the offender wanted to write a letter which explained what he had been feeling at the time and how sorry he was now.

Thank you for the letter, it has made a difference to how I feel.

Georgia, Victim of Crime

Thank you for the update, I felt reassured that the offender has apologised and that her behaviour was subject to some reflection and accountability.

Linda, Victim of Crime

He's done what he has been asked to do (apologise for the harm caused) - I'm very happy with that.

Kieran, Victim of Crime

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