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Victims’ Code should include right to be referred to Restorative Justice service

This week, the CJA has responded to the Consultation on Improving the Victims’ Code. In our response, we call for a right for victims to be referred to a Restorative Justice service.

On the whole, the revised Victims’ Code 2020 provides clarification on the support victims can access and their entitlements when reporting a crime. However, our chief concern is that this process of simplification has resulted in unintended consequences by reducing the level of entitlements with regard to information about and access to Restorative Justice services.

This is important given the strong evidence of the benefits of Restorative Justice, which can increase victim satisfaction, improve their wellbeing and reduce reoffending, as set out in our 2019 report A journey of learning, change and growth: A roadmap for increasing Restorative Justice across England and Wales. Given these benefits, we would like to see greater clarity in the revised Code around the right to information about Restorative Justice and the right to access Restorative Justice services, with a right to be referred to a Restorative Justice service being an entitlement of its own.

We are also concerned about how people in custody who have been victims of crime can effectively access their entitlements, and the potentially disproportionate impact on BAME victims if only police have a responsibility to provide information and make referrals to Restorative Justice services.

Read our response to the Consultation on Improving the Victims’ Code.