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.
Table of Contents
General introduction, Daniela Bolivar, Inge Vanfraechem and Ivo Aertsen Part 1. Victims in restorative justice literature 1. Victims’ experiences and their need for justice, Antony Pemberton and Inge Vanfraechem 2. Restorative justice and victims of crime, Inge Vanfraechem and Daniela Bolivar Part 2. Victims in mediation and conferencing: a European research Introduction, Inge Vanfraechem and Daniela Bolivar 3. Victims in mediation in Austria, Christa Pelikan and Leo Bachinger 4. Victims in mediation in Finland, Päivi Honkatukia 5. Victims in mediation in the Netherlands, Antony Pemberton 6. Victims in conferencing, Inge Vanfraechem 7. Comparison of the main results: variations and similarities, Daniela Bolivar, Christa Pelikan and Anne Lemonne Part 3. Victims and restoration in policy-making 8. Local practices, Daniela Bolivar 9. European policies, Katrien Lauwaert.
Inge Vanfraechem is senior researcher at the Leuven Institute of Criminology (University of Leuven, Belgium) where she manages a European FP7 project on restorative justice and conflicts in intercultural settings. She has published extensively in the areas of restorative justice, victimology and youth delinquency, including Justice for Victims (co-edited with Pemberton and Ndahinda, Routledge 2014) and Conferencing and Restorative Justice (co-edited with Zinsstag, Oxford University Press 2012). She has (co)supervised multiple European research projects in these areas.
Daniela Bolivar is a research fellow at the University of Chile. After several years working as a practitioner in the field of victim support, she moved to Belgium where, first as a researcher of the Leuven Institute of Criminology and then of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, she devoted several years to the study of restorative justice and its impact on victims of crime. She has written a number of articles on restorative justive from the victim's perspective.
Ivo Aertsen is a professor of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. His main fields of research and teaching are victimology and restorative justice. He is the Director of the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology, where he is also co-ordinating the Research Line on Restorative Justice. He is Editor-in-chief of Restorative Justice: An International Journal.
‘This book is highly recommended to victimologists and to service providers in the field. In the avalanche of publications on the theme of victims and restorative justice, this one stands out because it offers more in-depth chapters on empirical data and underlying theories, both on a micro level as well as the macro level. This is state-of-the-art victimology, providing thought-provoking material that exposes the challenges that we still have to face.’ - Marc Groenhuijsen, Professor, Department of Criminal Law & Professor at INTERVICT, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
‘This volume focuses on the victim’s viewpoint and offers a fresh and original perspective on Restorative Justice. Drawing on evidence from a European restorative justice project aimed specifically at understanding victims’ experiences, as well as other research findings, it concludes that RJ can indeed be implemented in a victim-sensitive way, lending weight to the arguments supporting enhanced use of RJ to meet victims’ needs.’ - Heather Strang, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, UK
‘A wonderful book and very timely as well. This book is a must-read for anyone working with victims of crime – whether they be in victim support or in criminal justice. This evidence-based book tackles many of the key questions facing victims with respect to restorative justice. In doing so, it debunks many of the pervasive myths and misperceptions about restorative justice for victims.’ - Jo-Anne Wemmers, PhD, Professor, School of Criminology, Université de Montréal, Canada
‘Restorative justice is about fulfilling victims’ needs, as well as those of society. This book thoughtfully examines victims’ points of view about restorative justice. Stemming from an EU grant focusing on victims of crime and considering several European countries, it looks in detail at victims’ roles and also at the extent to which restorative justice programmes are being run to be responsive to victims’ needs. It will be key for restorative justice practitioners and all those intending to develop such services.’ - Joanna Shapland, Director of the Centre for Criminological Research, University of Sheffield, UK