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Victims' Needs and Restorative Justice

Good Practices and Safeguards

This course is part of the 2023 EFRJ Winter Academy (30 January - 3 February 2023, Leuven, Belgium). Read more about the event and register »

This course will develop the skills of professionals working in direct contact with victims of crime or supporting the practical implementation of victims’ rights. Participants will better understand how restorative justice responds to the (justice, safety, and other) needs of victims and will help to make a better offer/assessment/referral of victims for restorative justice services.

The course focuses on the challenges and opportunities of restorative justice from the victims’ perspective, looking at the different steps that may ensure access to high-quality restorative justice for victims. The course will focus on the needs of victims, the awareness of criminal justice professionals and the general public on restorative justice, the resistance and fears towards its use (especially in specific type of crimes and/or vulnerable groups), the inter-agency cooperation needed to support referrals and access to the services, the methodologies in place to offer restorative justice to victims (and responsible for the harm), the actual facilitation of the dialogical process, the follow-up of the (potential) agreement, and the evaluation of the overall service.


To understand better the victims’ needs and experience in the restorative justice process and to clarify the actual implementation of restorative justice programmes (from the referral procedure to the offer to the actual delivery of the service) in order to support access to restorative justice services for all victims of crime. After the course, participants should be able to inform the victims better and to adapt their practices/service to more efficiently meet victims’ needs.

Learning outcomes

Participants will:

  1. To understand values, principles and practices of restorative justice;
  2. To identify victims’ needs and to understand how restorative justice takes into consideration these needs;
  3. To clarify the role of different professionals in ensuring access to restorative justice for victims (and responsible of the harm);
  4. To understand the challenges and opportunities of referring victims to restorative justice services.

Who should participate?

This course is meant for all professionals working with and for victims of crime (practitioners, policymakers, researchers). In particular:

  • Victim support workers, working in direct contact with victims and willing to understand more about restorative justice;
  • Victims’ rights advocates, researching and/or drafting policies to support victims of crime (including victims’ associations);
  • Restorative justice practitioners, working in direct contact with victims and willing to understand more about their needs;
  • Criminal justice professionals, possibly having direct contacts with victims (law enforcement, judiciary, etc.), willing to understand why/when/how to refer cases to victim support and restorative justice services;
  • Other professionals having direct contacts with victims (emergency, mental health care, crisis centres, etc.), also when crimes are not reported, with a potential role to inform them about the existence of restorative justice services.
Peter Crory and Lisa Walters


Peter Crory & Lisa Walters

Peter Crory is the Head of Service for Victim Support Northern Ireland, the main victims support organisation in Northern Ireland. He leads on restorative justice for the organisation and is an experienced facilitator, working primarily on victim-initiated cases, to ensure a safe process that helps them on their recovery journey. He works closely with partners in prisons and probation to facilitate best practice. Victim Support NI is an accredited restorative organisation delivering a range of restorative justice training each year. He has previously worked in the voluntary sector for many years in Scotland and Ireland. 
Peter is married to Pauline and has two grown up children. He volunteers to chair trustees at his local youth and community centre, is a keen mountain biker and, only recently, a novice sailor.

Lisa Walters is a mediator with the restorative justice service Médiante in Wallonie, Belgium. The service offers victim-offender mediation to adults, and child victims of adults for all types of crimes, at all stages of the criminal justice process. She has been with Mediante since 2019. Previously, Lisa worked with various victim and offender services (Victims Aid, Offenders Aid, Victims Police Assistance) as a social worker, also in Wallonie.
Preceding her move to Belgium, she lived in Ireland where she trained as a mediator in Dublin and co-founded an NGO promoting the implementation of Restorative justice practices in Ireland. Focused training in victim-offender mediation led to facilitation work with victims and offenders involved in the Troubles in Northern Ireland.