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PRESS RELEASE: Government Ignoring Victims in its plans for Restorative Justice?

The UK Government has asked the Restorative Justice Council to consult on new Restorative Service Standards and a Quality Mark as part of its Restorative Justice Action Plan aiming to roll out restorative justice at every stage of the criminal justice system. IARS, a leading international think-tank expressed serious concerns about these plans both in relation to their context, but also the timeframe that was allowed for their consultation. According to these plans, a fee of £3,000 - £1,500 will be required by anyone practising restorative justice in order to receive the government’s approval.

Dr. Theo Gavrielides, IARS Director and restorative justice professor in UK, Canadian and Greek universities, said: “This government has shown keen interest in restorative justice. While this is good news, we must be careful not to tamper with the community born ethos of restorative practices. There is a need for quality assurance and consistency in restorative justice, but the road that has been taken will lead to a waste of public funds and the alienation of practitioners. It is a shame that Ministry of Justice officials chose to ignore evidence that is being collected from two EU funded research projects missing the chance to hear from what victims really want”.

The EU has just passed a new Victims’ Directive asking all governments to pay particular attention to victims’ safeguards when implementing restorative justice. IARS was awarded an EU grant to run a consortium of European universities that will create an evidence-base for constructing a user-led framework for the development of standards, training material, protocols and safeguards for restorative justice at UK and EU levels. The programme is titled Restorative Justice in Europe (RJE) and is supported by a number of other countries and associated partners. The EU is also funding a second pan European consortium run by the German based Schleswig-Holstein Association. This focuses on the production of standards and quality controls for the application of restorative justice post sentencing and in accordance with the Victims’ Directive.

In a letter to the responsible Minister, Jeremy Wright MP, Dr. Theo Gavrielides, raised a number of issues relating to the government’s plan for restorative justice. This included issues of legitimacy, competition, transparency and democratic engagement. The consultation closed on 28 March and the Minister has responded to IARS. To read his letter click here

CONTACT: DR. THEO GAVRIELIDES, +44(0) 20 7820 0945, 07955728951| @TGavrielides

To download the letter to the responsible Minister, Jeremy Wright MP, please click here. (please note you have to register with RJ4All to be able to download)

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  1. IARS: www.iars.org.uk
  2. RJE http://www.rj4all.info/content/RJE
  3. Victims’ Directive http://www.rj4all.info/library/victimsdirective
  4. Theo Gavrielides http://www.iars.org.uk/iarsusers/theo-gavrielides
  5. Restorative Justice Action Plan http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/policy/moj/restorative-justice-action-plan.pdf