Accessibility and Initiation of Restorative Justice

DOWNLOAD HERE the final research report and practical guide published in December 2014!

Promoter: European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ)

Partners: (Sweden), Ars Publica (Croatia), Center for Peace Studies (Croatia), Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC, Belgium), Verwey-Jonker Institute (Netherlands), Restorative Justice Services (Ireland),  Polish Center for Mediation (Poland), Association of Schools of Social Work (Romania)

Supervisor of project: Prof Dr Ivo Aertsen
Coordinators of project: Dr Malini Laxminarayan and Emanuela Biffi
Duration: 20 months (01/01/2013-31/8/2014)

Funding: This project is funded by the European Commission – Criminal Justice Programme – JUST/2011/JPEN/AG/2968.

Summary of project: The research examining restorative justice procedures is very often positive, emphasizing numerous benefits. Victims are found to be more satisfied, offender recidivism is reduced, victims are less fearful and angry, and the process allows for more feelings of involvement and empowerment. Furthermore, research has shown that victims do show an interest in mediation when approached with the opportunity. Despite these findings, in addition to support from various legal and support personnel, the use of restorative justice processes in practice is lacking. Small numbers of referrals are being reported in countries across Europe suggesting that the potential of restorative justice is not being reached. Research suggests that many victims would like to attend restorative justice processes, even when they are not provided with access to such procedures and that the number of people who refuse restorative justice procedures is limited. Therefore, the following questions will be asked:

Main research questions:
When and under what conditions are restorative justice processes accessible to citizens?
How are restorative justice processes initiated under different jurisdictions and in different models?

The project is coordinated by the European Forum for Restorative Justice, together with the partner organizations within Europe. The research largely focuses on how people hear about such an option and how and by whom they are referred. To investigate accessibility, a framework will be developed borrowing from more normative sources, such as international victim legislation, and past empirical research on the topic. Concepts such as referrals, quality of referrals, and attitudes of legal authorities regarding restorative justice (often seen as barriers to accessibility) will be included. The empirical investigation will include quantitative assessments of practitioners involved in the referral or mediation process, in addition to case studies in each of the countries involved. The research will result in a final report and a guide for best practices.

If you would like more information on the project, please contact Malini Laxminarayan or Emanuela Biffi at [email protected]

The final research report and practical guide are available here.