Newly released Ipsos MORI polling, commissioned by the Restorative Justice Council, confirms that 80% of the public believe that victims of crime should have the right to meet their offender. Among people who had been a victim of crime, this figure rose to 85%.
Restorative justice gives victims the chance to meet or communicate with their offenders to explain the real impact of the crime – it empowers victims by giving them a voice. It also holds offenders to account for what they have done and helps them to take responsibility and make amends. Government research demonstrates that restorative justice provides an 85% victim satisfaction rate, and a 14% reduction in the frequency of reoffending.
Jon Collins, the Restorative Justice Council’s chief executive, said: “We’re very pleased that there is such strong public support for restorative justice, and it should be made available to every victim who wants it. The government is due to release a green paper for a forthcoming Victim’s Law soon, and this polling demonstrates the overwhelming public support for it containing an entitlement for victims to access restorative justice.
“Victims are all too often marginalised from the criminal justice process and restorative justice enables them to get answers to their questions, regain control and move on with their lives after crime. It also reduces offending by 14%, which can lead to huge savings to the public purse.
“But the polling also showed that too few people are aware of the process – only 28% had heard of restorative justice – and this is something we’re working hard to rectify.
“In a justice system which is increasingly focusing on prioritising the needs of victims, restorative justice has an integral role to play. Restorative justice is currently available at any stage of the criminal justice process, but people need to know more about its benefits and how to access it.”
A summary of the polling results is available here.