Putting Justice Needs First: A Case Study of Best Practice in Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice: An International Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 256–281, Oct 2015
Posted: 14 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 14, 2015
This paper presents the findings of an empirical study into the process and outcomes of a post-sentencing, victim-centred, restorative justice practice (victim–offender conferencing) for victims and adult offenders convicted of serious crime in New South Wales Australia. Using victim–offender conferencing as a case study of restorative justice, a mixed-method approach was used to explore 74 of the 76 victim offender conferences completed by the Restorative Justice Unit between 1999 and 2013. This involved a reconstruction of completed cases (using documentary analysis of case files and in-depth interviews with original facilitators, 60 each); an ethnographic study of fourteen current cases using observation and pre- and post-participant interviews (twelve observations, 103 interviews); and a follow-up study exploring participant experiences five years later (32 interviews). With a 95 per cent ‘success’ rate, Toews’s (2006) ‘justice needs’ framework is developed to explain motivations, experiences and outcomes for victims.
Keywords: Post-Sentencing Restorative Justice; Serious Crime; Victims; Justice Needs; Victim Offender Conferencing
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