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Victim Assistance

A primary principle of restorative justice is that crime causes injuries and justice should repair those. Victim assistance is a way of both limiting and beginning to repair those injuries. These articles and resources concern efforts to offer support and assistance to crime victims.

Javed Kahn, Chief Executive, Victim Support (UK)
In this 14 minute video from the Victim and Witnesses: Improving practice and provision conference held in London on 20 October 2010, Javed Kahn outlines the work of Victim Support. He describes the voluntary service to meet the needs of crime victims and calls for some changes to strengthen support to victims. Among these are restorative practices and outcomes.
New law compensates 'cold case' victims
from Patrick Cronin's article in Seacoast Online: Rep. Renny Cushing said he saw one shortcoming in the bill signed into law last year establishing for the first time in the state's history a Cold Case Unit assigned to work exclusively on unsolved murder cases. The Democratic state representative from Hampton said the bill didn't address the needs of surviving victims who may be traumatized by the reopening of an investigation into their loved ones death. That is why he sponsored a bill, which became law three weeks ago, that allows family of cold case homicides to be eligible for victim compensation regardless of the date of the crime.
Response by Dr Martin Wright to European Commission consultation document: Taking action on rights, support and protection of victims of crime and violence
From the response by Dr. Martin Wright: The key to this reply is in the last answer: that in principle restorative justice practices should be available to all victims, subject only to the safeguards mentioned in the reply to Question 17. Restorative processes are in the interests not only of victims, but also of offenders and the community. Victim-offender dialogue is valuable as an end in itself as well as a means to an end. For many victims, action to make the offender less likely to re-offend is at least as high on their list of priorities as monetary compensation or reparation through work. When the victim and offender agree on one of these methods of reparation, it is incumbent on the community to provide the resources to enable offenders to carry them out.
Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime
by Eric Assur Not too many years ago Restorative Justice (RJ) was introduced, or artfully expounded on, by Howard Zehr. Now we have what appears to be a similarly unique view of the victim of crime topic through new and different lenses. The author, a seasoned and well credentialed victim advocate, and the “National Center” now offer an enlightening commentary and daunting challenge regarding the state of victim services. The book recommends a new way to do business, a paradigm shift to what is now labeled, Parallel Justice (PJ).
European Commission's Victims' Package: Consultation on taking action on rights, support and protection of victims of crime and violence
from the European Commission's Freedom, Security and Justice area: The Commission intends to adopt a package of measures, including a Directive on minimum standards for victims of crime, in the first half of 2011 in particular to replace the 2001 Framework Decision on the standing of victims. This consultation gives stakeholders the opportunity to present their views about which concrete actions could be developed at EU level that would bring real added value. It will also give the Commission an insight into concrete experiences of those working with victims of crime, particularly regarding the difficulties they encounter when assisting victims and the problems faced by those victims. The Commission is looking in particular for reliable data, factual information and specific real-life examples, regarding both problems and solutions.
Crime victims treated like the 'poor relation'
from Dominic Casciani's article on The first commissioner for victims of crime in England and Wales says the criminal justice system treats them as a poor relation and an afterthought. Too often victims found themselves a "sideshow" as police, prisons, lawyers and the courts focused on the offender, Louise Casey said. She said too much time was spent trying to help all crime victims, rather than focusing on those in genuine need.
caring for both victim and offender
Hi Lisa, I agree with you absolutely. We can and must care for both victim and offender equally and, in practice, sadly we care for [...]
Can you work for the victim and the offender?
by Lisa Rea I had two things happen to me recently that gave me pause. It is the story of two people. One is the story of a crime victim. The other is a story of an ex-offender. The crime victim lost her husband to murder years ago in California. I've known this woman largely via email for many years as we both have worked for justice reform. This victim worked for an organization in California that often took positions regarding prison and sentencing policies than have not been positions I could support as an advocate of restorative justice. But regardless, she and I have been "friends". In time, I believe she saw me as a supporter of crime victims, something that I have worked hard to be. She was a good person and a nice human being.
Political Prisoners are Real
Prisoners send me blog posts for the blog POLITICAL PRISONRS at These are real letters sent to me to be posted online, by prisoners [...]
inhumane treatment of prisoners
I appreciate the posting of this article by Mr. Kim Workman. I have the greatest respect for his work. It is a sad fact that [...]
Can prisoners also be victims? Promoting injustice through legislation
by Kim Workman Last week’s introduction of the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims (Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill, brings to mind one of the most shameful incidents in the history of New Zealand’s prison system. As Head of Prisons at the time, it gives me no great pleasure to reflect on the incident and the subsequent political response to it. In January 1993, three young prisoners at Mangaroa (now Hawkes Bay) prison were systematically beaten and tortured by prison officers. They held the young men naked in outside exercise yards, and used hit squads to repeatedly beat them over a three day period. The prisoners were initially denied access to medical support for injuries which included bruising and cracked bones.
Trauma care in April
from the Prison Fellowship Rwanda blog: The month of April is a very difficult time for most Rwandans. April 7, 2010 marks the sixteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, where over one million Rwandans were killed in just under 100 days. Sixteen years after the genocide is not a long time, and memories of the pain and loss are still raw and fresh in the minds of thousands of Rwandans. Many Rwandan survivors suffer from trauma and traumatic episodes during the period of April as they remember the horrific crimes experienced against them.
priest abuse
Earlier I searched for an example of a priest abuse case using restorative justice and I did find one case reported in Rhode Island.The story [...]
RJ: victims centered or offender focused?
Lynette, good to link that project (the Listening Project). I think those who practice restorative justice, or advocate for it, need to always check themselves [...]
Victims and RJ
On victims and RJ, I've heard concerns before that RJ is more offender focused. Actually from my experiences, it is actually rather easy to focus [...]
Canada and restorative justice
James, thanks for your comments. Can you give us more feedback about your work in Canada (including identifying yourself for those reading this blog)? Do [...]
I agree that there is substantial need to shift the response to harm in our churches from denial, defensiveness and blaming to genuine engagement, openness [...]
clergy abuse & restorative justice
Thank you, Dale, for your comments. I think that would be a great way for Catholics to express their support for restorative justice. And as [...]
Response to Lisa Rea's Article
I wholeheartedly support the use of restorative justice in helping to heal the abuse issues in the Catholic Church. I've seen it work miracles before, [...]
Clergy sexual abuse: A cry for restorative justice
by Lisa Rea: At this hour, I would guess that some around the world are weary of the news stories of abuse that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent weeks. But to me, it's a reminder of how far we have to go to heal the injuries suffered by the victims (survivors) of abuse.

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