Restorative justice

Restorative justice (RJ) is a process which enables communication between those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm.

image of signpost pointing to past and futureAfter a crime, those harmed may want the chance to:

  • ask the offender ‘why me?’, or other questions
  • tell the offender how it affected them and their family
  • hear an apology.

Offenders may want the chance to:

  • improve the situation
  • if they can, say sorry
  • answer any questions about the offence.

Restorative justice offers these opportunities and in this way can repair the harm caused by crime.

Research reported by the Government in 2010 found that 85% of victims who took part in RJ meetings with offenders were satisfied with the process. It also concluded that RJ reduces the frequency of re-offending by 14%.

Calm Mediation’s restorative justice service

Calm Mediation has been providing restorative justice since 2005. We achieved the Restorative Service Quality Mark in 2016, providing independent accreditation of our excellent practice.

Although we take cases originating in London, we work in a variety of settings such as prisons around the country, or in the community. We deal with cases involving a wide range of crimes, for example: assault, burglary, criminal damage, death by dangerous driving, grievous bodily harm, manslaughter, murder, robbery and theft.

We accept a referral after the offender has been sentenced by the court and the legal process is concluded. This ensures that the restorative process is treated separately.

Our service is voluntary; nobody is compelled to participate.

Our RJ facilitators

Our service is provided by trained facilitators who give their time to the community through Calm Mediation. They have a wealth of skills and experience from backgrounds in teaching, the prison service, Victim Support, the legal sector, and youth services, for example.

How does restorative justice work?

Calm Mediation’s team receives case referrals, assigns facilitators and makes all the practical arrangements. How cases proceed depends on the circumstances.

Our facilitators, working in pairs, meet with all those involved, separately and in confidence, to explain how RJ works.

Image of young woman expressing her feelings to a seated groupThey listen to what has happened and how those involved have been affected. They find out what they would like to see happen to improve things and help them prepare for the next stage.

If everyone agrees, and after a comprehensive risk assessment, a meeting (known as a restorative conference) is arranged. If a meeting is not possible, the facilitator can make other arrangements for those involved to communicate.

Cases can take several months, sometimes longer, to be completed because of the time required to gather information from different agencies and to visit prisons.

Accessing our service

We receive case referrals from the London National Probation Trust, the Metropolitan Police,  the Community Rehabilitation Company and voluntary agencies. We accept cases for crimes involving London residents, with the following criteria:

  • the offender must have admitted to the crime and accepted responsibility
  • there must be two identifiable people – an offender and a harmed person
  • we cannot start the restorative process unless the police have arrested a perpetrator
  • we cannot accept case referrals involving stalking or child abuse where the harmed person is under the age of 18 years.

Our service is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and a range of other agencies so that we can provide a free service to those harmed by crime.

To make a referral to our restorative justice service, or to discuss how we might meet your organisation’s needs for RJ, please contact the Restorative Justice Co-ordinator.

Further information and case studies about restorative justice is available from the Restorative Justice Council.