European Society of Criminology location:Prague date:10-13 September 2014
This paper studies the needs and expectations of victims who decide not to participate in restorative justice practices such as mediation or conferencing. A core principle of a restorative justice meeting entails its voluntariness: victims and offenders are generally free to decide whether or not to participate. When an offender does not choose to participate, the meeting cannot take place. When the offender does choose to participate, a meeting can take place with victims who choose either to attend or to have an input e.g. through a representative or a letter. When victims decide not to participate but the mediation or conference nevertheless takes place, it is unclear to what extent these victims' needs are addressed. Recent research shows that non-participating victims are often not informed of the outcome of the meeting, possibly because the mediators/facilitators are inclined to give priority to the offender’s privacy. Furthermore, we know of no research on the extent to which these victims turn to the traditional criminal justice system or whether their needs and interests are addressed in another way.