Stories | Themes | Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a way of resolving conflict within the criminal justice system compassionately. Victim-offender dialogues address social injuries by giving victims a better chance of healing and offenders the opportunity to apologise and take responsibility.

Joan van Blerk and Collin Ketshabile

"At first this was all about helping Collin – I didn’t think it could possibly help me. But I was wrong. Now, for the first time since Michael died, I have peace of mind."

Kathleen Key

"It was the first time I’d slept since my husband had died. It was very empowering. I was able to find closure."

Deborah Hollywood

"A few times during the meeting I broke down crying, because I couldn’t help putting myself in his shoes and this upset me. Suddenly I felt compassion for him. I thought, if that was my son it would break my heart."

Matthew James

"On leaving the prison I realised that things had changed for me; I’d gone from being a victim of crime to being able to see things more from Billy’s point of view."

Katy Hutchison and Ryan Aldridge

"We spoke about almost everything – our lives, our hobbies, our families. There were tears there were long silences where neither of us had the words to fill the space."

Jo Nodding

"He heard it from me that day, what he’d done to me, not from someone else saying how I might feel. I think if they hear it from the victim themselves they get a much better understanding."

David Rogers

"After the meeting, I felt I understood much more about what exactly had happened that night which was very helpful in that it diffused the anger. I can now think about Billy without getting angry, and that makes a difference."

Gwen Gibson

"The Restorative Justice conference taught me a lot. I learned that I should not be so judgemental, when I heard of the boy’s background and how his unhappy home life had affected him."

Jacob Dunne

"Opening the door into the room where both David and Joan were waiting was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, but I knew how important it was that I looked them in the eye and told them how sorry I was."

Denise Rhodes

"When the police contacted me and asked if I wanted to be involved in a restorative justice meeting, I agreed."

Anne-Marie Hagan

"I'd not heard of the term restorative justice then but in that face-to-face meeting, which lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes, 16 years and 10 months of misery was just wiped away."

Margaret Foxley

"I left that prison feeling that I’d really changed. I could breathe again. I felt safe, I felt secure. I understood that this person wasn’t a monster."

Noelle and Brendan McCauley

"If offenders engage with restorative justice at a young age, you might be able to nip it in the bud."

Susie Lomax

"The world teaches you to be afraid of certain people; if something bad happens to get angry and take revenge. But the more I listened and looked at the boy’s circumstances, the more my life expanded instead of shutting down.It gave me courage."

Rosalyn Boyce

"When the meeting concluded, I thanked him for seeing me then I stood up and left the room. He remained seated. This time I was the one leaving him in a room; the tables had turned."

Peter Woolf and Will Riley

"Now, all these years later, it’s clear the meeting wasn’t simply about Peter, but had a huge impact on me too."

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