Restorative justice and victims of abuse

Published date23 November 2022
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
Restorative justice is an approach to justice being offered to victims of crime in many jurisdictions across the globe, in addition to criminal and civil justice currently available here. It is non-adversarial and is designed to put victims at the centre of it, within a context of respect for all

Validation, vindication, exercising voice, victim participation in the design, accountability and truth telling are core. Acknowledgement of wrongdoing is a prerequisite for offender or institutional participation, otherwise restorative processes are not suitable.

Restorative justice processes can include any or all of the following in a single case: victim-offender meetings, restorative conferences (such as meetings with institutional representatives), healing circles, restorative inquiries and restorative redress.

Restorative inquiries can be codesigned and managed by a core group of survivor representatives, with legal and social science input, including either powers to compel documents or pledges on the part of institutions to engage in a non-adversarial way.

The aim is to ensure a non-legalistic process. It includes access to records, review of all documents, and public and private sessions, including the hearing of testimonies. The terms of reference are hugely important as is the composition of the commission. The process is not concluded until every last question the survivor has is responded to adequately. Care, as much as inquiry, guides the process, and mechanisms are put in place to ensure this for all...

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