RJ for Victims

For an excellent 3 minute video ‘A victims’ guide to restorative justice’ developed by the UK Restorative Justice Council see https://vimeo.com/124975411

A helpful summary of the needs of victims is that of Cheryl Frank (Frank, C. Quality services guaranteed? A review of victim policy in South Africa. ISS Monograph Series No 137, 2007, p 7–14:

  • The need for access to justice and fair treatment

  • The need for contact with the criminal justice system

  • The need for safety

  • The need for information

  • The need for assistance and services:

    • Practical assistance, medical treatment, financial assistance, transport, repairs

    • Emotional support information

    • Counselling

    • Services and shelter

  • The need for continuity

  • The need to have a voice

  • The need for validation and acknowledgement

  • The need for restitution, redress and apology

The concepts and values of Restorative Justice, and their application in various forms of encounter such as mediation and dialogue, are particularly suited to addressing the last three needs.

Both the Service Charter for Victims of Crime in South Africa and the accompanying Minimum Standards on Services for Victims of Crime refer explicitly to restorative justice in the forewords by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and inherently reflect key restorative justice values such as the understanding that victims should remain central to the criminal justice system and the right of victims to compensation and restitution.