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How can we improve victims’ satisfaction and confidence in the criminal justice system?

For the criminal justice system to function effectively, it must have the trust, confidence and cooperation of victims. Yet around one in three victims report being dissatisfied with the way their case was handled, around half say that they are not confident in the effectiveness or fairness of the criminal justice system and just four in ten victims would report a crime again based on their previous experiences of the criminal justice system. We also know that while people from certain minoritised groups are more likely to be victims of crime, they’re less likely to access support 

Restorative justice, a voluntary process which brings together victims and the person who committed the crime to address harm, can improve victim satisfaction and wellbeing and reduce reoffending. But many victims are not made aware of restorative justice.

We advocate for a greater focus on the needs of victims from minoritised groups and call for the increased use of restorative justice. 

Our recent work:

What should the Victims’ Bill include to improve the lives of victims?

In response to the government’s consultation, we called for the upcoming Victims’ Bill to enshrine all 12 rights of the Victims’ Code in legislation and increase access to restorative justice. In addition, we called for the government to improve support for people in prison who have been the victims of a crime and increase access to specialist services for Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims.

Read the report

Campaigning for a national action plan for restorative justice

A national action plan could increase access to, awareness of and capacity for restorative justice, but the last plan expired in 2018 and hasn’t been renewed. We worked with Baroness Molly Meacher to table an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which would require the government to regularly produce a national action plan. Read the government’s response. We continue to campaign for a national action plan via other avenues.

The Victims’ Law and the Victims’ Code

We contributed to the Victims’ Commissioner’s proposals for a new Victims’ Law, calling for better access to restorative justice and more focus on the needs of young and Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims. Read comment on the proposals from CJA Director Nina Champion. 

We also responded to the government’s consultation on improving the Victims’ Code. We called for the right to be referred to a restorative justice service, which the government subsequently included in the revised code. 

Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims of crime

We held a roundtable to discuss the specific needs of Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims and what more can be done to support them. Attendees discussed commissioning arrangements for specialist services; the need for cultural competence in the criminal justice workforce; how low trust in police hampers access to support services and more. 

Find out more

Responding restoratively to COVID-19

In this report, restorative practitioners and academics discuss how restorative justice has continued throughout the pandemic to support victims of crime. The report also looks at how restorative practices and approaches can help society recover from the impact of the pandemic. 

Find out more

Restorative justice across England and Wales

We studied the use of restorative justice across England and Wales in our report ‘A journey of learning, growth and change’, finding that victims face a postcode lottery when it comes to accessing restorative justice. We then made a series of recommendations to increase awareness and use of restorative justice. 

Find out more