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Restorative justice is concerned with healing victims’ wounds, restoring offenders to law-abiding lives, and repairing harm done to interpersonal relationships and the community. It seeks to involve all stakeholders and provide opportunities for those most affected by the crime to be directly involved in the process of responding to the harm caused. A central premise of restorative justice is that victims, offenders, and the affected communities are all key stakeholders in the restorative process. Victims include not only those directly affected by the offense, but also family members and members of the affected community. The safety, support, and needs of these victims are the starting points for any restorative justice process. Thus a primary objective is to attend to victims’ needs: material, financial, emotional, and social. Restorative justice empowers victims by providing the opportunity to actively participate in the crime resolution process. A study by Dr. Carolyn Angel shows that participation in a Restorative Conference reduces trauma from crime.

The Idaho Attorney General website for Victim Assistance has information and resources for:

  • Victims of crime
  • Victim Coordinator contacts
  • Hotline numbers
  • Victim resource information and more

Idaho Juvenile Justice wants to help victims heal and to provide juveniles the chance to repair the harm they have caused. Other community members who have been affected are also included so that victims and communities can feel safe.

Those responsible for causing harm are held accountable. They are helped to better understand the enormous impact their actions have had on others. They learn what empathy and reconciliation mean by actively working to repair the harm they have caused and to restore a sense of safety to individuals and communities. These steps also help strengthen our response to crime and wrong doing.

There are a variety of methods that seek to achieve these goals. Victim Panels, Mediation, Restorative Conferencing, Peace Making Circles and Restorative Community Services are examples of how our victims and communities can begin to heal. These options aim to help victims, communities and offenders deal with the harm that was done. They can also provide the opportunity for closure and, in some instances emotional healing that typically does not happen in the court process or other related systems services.

Opportunities to restore and repair can be provided through the community. The opportunities are not a substitute, but instead can be added to our traditional court actions bringing better outcomes for those directly affected by juvenile wrongdoing and crime.

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