Agreeing on a definition of restorative justice has proved difficult. One definition is a theory of justice that focuses mostly on repairing the harm caused by criminal behaviour. The reparation is done through a cooperative process that includes all the stakeholders. Restorative justice can also be explained as an approach of justice that aims to satisfy the needs of the victims and offenders, as well as the entire community. The most broadly accepted definition for restorative justice, however, is a process whereby all the parties that have a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve on how to deal with the aftermath. This process is largely focused around reparation, reintegration and participation of victims. That is to say, it is a victim-centred approach to criminal justice, and it perceives crime differently than the adversarial system of justice.
This approach has introduced a criminal justice policy agenda. In the past, victims to criminal activities have been outsiders to the criminal conflict. In recent times, many efforts have been made to give the victims a more central role in the criminal justice system. Some of these efforts were introduced a few years back, though even at that time, these efforts were seen as long overdue. Some of these efforts include access to state compensation and forms of practical support. For advocates of restorative justice, crime is perceived primarily as a violation of people and relationships, and the aim is to make amends for all the harm suffered by victims, offenders and communities. The most commonly used forms of restorative justice include direct mediation, indirect mediation, restorative cautioning, sentencing panels or circles and conferencing. In recent...
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