A scheme which enables offenders to discuss the
impact of their crimes with their victim has been rolled out across
all of London by London Probation Trust.
Restorative Justice brings these two groups together in
order for victims to talk about how the crime has negatively
affected their life and for the offender to gain insight and victim
Assistant Chief Officer Andrew Hillas says: "Often the
element missing within the criminal justice system is the voice of
the victim. The process is weighted towards addressing the criminal
and their punishment rather than the victim and their needs.
Restorative Justice allows the victim to have their
Restorative Justice helps the victim to make sense of why
they became a victim of crime whilst making the offender understand
there is no such thing as a victimless crime and that their actions
had a substantial consequence.
Over the last 12 months London Probation Trust has run a
pilot covering ten London boroughs. This new London wide scheme
will complement existing local Restorative Justice schemes which
already run in parts of London. Here are the views of some who took
"I just wanted him to realise the huge impact it had and
that he would understand this is not the way to behave. I feel
better now because I think he’s less likely to do it
(When asked whether she would recommend Restorative
Justice to other people)
"I already have. My sister was burgled and I told her how
useful I’d found it to speak to people and to talk about how it had
made me feel."
Offender #1 – this case went to a
"They got to know why it happened and that it wasn’t
intended. That they hadn’t been targeted."
Offender #2 – went to
"I’ve been in trouble for years. I’d never looked at it
from the victim’s point of view. In fact when I’ve been locked up
I’ve always seen myself as the victim.
"Before victims had just been a name on a statement but
this was for real. I just wanted them to know that it was nothing
"It’s going to make me think twice. If that’s not
deterrence I don’t know what is. It’s given me the motivation to
stay on the straight and narrow."
A Circuit Judge when asked what she found attractive about
Restorative Justice said:
"I found attractive that the victim actually had this
opportunity to voice his/her feelings... and get some sort of
resolution, an emotional resolution. And that the offender had the
opportunity to seriously think about what they’d done.
"Not just trying to get a low sentence by saying how sorry
they were. But also having heard this and seeing the impact of it
to look at themselves and think what they could do to repair the
"It felt much more a rounded conclusion as opposed to what
I used to do when I sentenced people ... And also to bring the
offender back into normal society rather than see them as pariah
who would just do it all again."
Andrew Hillas, ACO, added:
"It has been said that the criminal justice system
punishes the guilty but leaves the victim out of the equation. This
allows them to ask their offender that most important of questions,
‘Why me?’ which is an important step to putting the crime behind
them and to live their lives fully again."