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A victims’ right to Restorative Justice amendment tabled for the Victims and Prisoners Bill

Press Release

For Immediate Release  

Calling for cross party support 


London, Jan 20, 2024.  

Media contact: Dr. Theo Gavrielides T.Gavrielides@rj4all.org, 07732569000 

Anna Fosse Galtier, a.galtier@rj4all.org 


Today, an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill was tabled to introduce a “victims’ right to restorative justice. Working closely with the office of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, the Restorative Justice for All International Institute (RJ4All) submitted evidence for legislative changes. This is the first of many others that are expected to be published on Monday. 

Professor Dr. Theo Gavrielides, RJ4All’s Founder and Director said: “We have strong evidence to support an amendment for a right to restorative justice for all victims of crime no matter how complex and serious this is. If properly informed and supported to opt for restorative justice, victims can finally get the attention and voice they need in their pursuit of justice. We call on a cross party support for this amendment”  

The House of Lords will examine the Victims and Prisoners Bill meticulously during its committee stage on Wednesday 24th January. While the bill ostensibly aims to enhance support and guidance for victims and those experiencing bereavement, RJ4All and other expert advocates express apprehension that, rather than delivering the intended benefits, it places victims at risk of losing their rightful access to restorative justice, a critical component in the healing and restoration process.  

  

In direct response to these concerns, RJ4All has taken proactive measures by submitting an evidence-based Open Letter and a comprehensive proposal for amendments to the office of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle. Baroness Bennett had previously raised the regretful absence of restorative justice during the last debate in the House of Lords (Monday 18th December) about the bill, and agreed to put forward an amendment to be debated at committee stage. 

RJ4All’s policy recommendations are all evidence-based and non-political, as it calls for cross-party support and unity in the pursuit of justice, including restorative justice, which include:

  • 1. The Right to Restorative Justice: Allow harmed parties to opt for restorative justice, as already introduced by two international agreements- the Victims Directive (2012/29/EU) and The Council of Europe Recommendation CM/REC (2018)8. The UK persists in overlooking the right to restorative justice established by these two substantial international agreements, despite their recognition that restorative justice can complement traditional criminal proceedings or serve as an alternative to them.
  • 2. Definition for Restorative Justice: RJ4All proposed a definition drawn from the Council of Europe Recommendation that is aligned with our understanding of restorative justice as being an ethos as well as diversionary practice. 
  • 3. The Right to Know about Restorative Justice: The current Bill lacks an obligation for criminal justice agencies to apprise harmed parties about restorative justice. “A right is not a right unless you know about it.” It is imperative to mandate criminal justice agencies to inform parties about restorative justice options, as the primary obstacle to exercising this right is low awareness. 
  • 4. Independent domestic violence and sexual violence advisors to include restorative justice services: This clause aims to allow “restorative justice service providers,” to provide domestic and sexual violence services. We proposed amendments that outline the roles, services, collaboration processes, and required training for these providers. Adherence to this guidance is mandatory for providers and relevant individuals in their respective functions, with exceptions for those acting in a judicial capacity. 

RJ4All urges like-minded advocates, specialists, organisations, and media partners to support our policy requests and join us in calling on the UK Government to prioritise the inclusion of restorative justice in the Victims and Prisoners Bill for the pursuit of justice. 

Information for editors:  

About RJ4All:  

Restorative Justice for All (RJ4All) is a charitable, user-led international institute with a vision of a world that embraces the restorative justice values of power sharing, fairness, equality, dignity and respect, and where power abuse is rooted out. We pursue our vision by using the power of dialogue, education, sports and art, as well as the practices of restorative justice. 

More information can be found at: https://rj4all.org/about-us/

Restorative Justice: At RJ4All, we consider Restorative Justice as an ethos with practical goals, among which is to restore harm by including affected parties in a (direct or indirect) encounter and a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue. Restorative justice adopts a fresh approach to conflicts and their control, retaining at the same time certain rehabilitative goals. 

More information can be found at: https://rj4all.org/what-is-restorative-justice/

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