We often make assumptions about what victims and offenders want from criminal justice. For the victim, we assume that they want vengeance, compensation and the offender’s imprisonment. For the offender, we assume they want a lenient sentence or, if possible, to ‚get off the hook‘! Rarely do we think that these two individuals may actually want to meet outside of the cold and formalised structures of the courts and law offices. That they might want to apologise, understand each other, forgive – but not necessarily forget.
The opportunity to meet your offender and try to put things right (as much as possible) independently of what they did to you, is called restorative justice (RJ). This concept is nothing new as it has been with us since we first formed civilisations (Gavrielides, 2011).