Restorative Justice for Persons Harmed by Serious Crime

Restorative Justice for Persons Harmed by Serious Crime

When a person has been violated and victimized by serious crime such as an assault or a rape, there is huge life changing harm and damage. There can be a constant sense of fear and uncertainty. Most often victims feel helpless and disempowered amongst many other possible impacts. Often a person finds that the criminal justice process can also be dis-empowering, where the victim is playing a waiting game. He or she may wonder if the case will go ahead or if the sentence will be just and reflect the severity of the crime?

The Criminal Justice System works very hard to meet the needs of the victims and yet sometimes there are still unmet needs on the part of the victim/survivor of this crime.  There may be unanswered questions such as “Why Me?”. Why did he pick me?, Did he/she watch me regularly?  The person might want to explain to the person who wronged them and harmed them exactly what  the impact of what he/she did was on the person then and since then. They might want to explain the “ripple effect”, that is that everyone else in their life was also impacted, spouse, children etc. On the other hand a person might want to tell the offender that he/she survived and that they did not have any power over them. It might be healing for them to face their offender.  A victim of a serious crime might never have had the chance to tell their story from beginning to end.