Restorative justice focuses on the harm when a crime has been committed, rather than looking at what laws or rules have been broken. Participation is on a voluntary basis.
The crime is discussed between the parties in a much less formal setting than would happen in a court. Issues are arbitrated between the offender and the victim, and means of making amends are agreed on.
In restorative justice, victims are given a chance to ask questions and to make the offender aware of the effect of their actions. The chance to receive an apology for the victim and gain forgiveness for the offender can have beneficial effects on both parties.
Restorative justice practices offer a more re-integrative approach to how we treat offenders, and community involvement can help to deal with the root causes of the criminal behaviour and reduce recidivism.
Restorative justice for children is provided for by statute for children by way of the Children Act 2001.
Restorative justice practices for adults in Ireland are provided by organisations such as Restorative Justice in the Community, Restorative Justice Services and Facing Forward. For more about the practice and services, please visit their websites.