What to do With These Victims?

Published 11/06/2008
Type Article
Author(s) Frederico Moyano Marques, João Lázaro
Corresponding Authors João Lázaro and Frederico Moyano Marques, Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) – Restorative Justice Unit, Portugal

The restorative ideology is about the democratic and active participation of victims, offenders and the communities affected by crime in the reaching of consensual solutions to deal with its consequences. It is a breath of fresh air for a traditional criminal justice system which is recognised by many as being in crisis. The discourse of restorative justice recognizes the balance between victims’ and offenders’ needs and rights, but in practice many of the existing schemes are mainly geared towards the offenders’ needs. The victim support community arrived late to restorative justice and has identified three main ideas concerning victims’ involvement in restorative practices: a greater openness and sensitivity to the victim’s needs and specificities, an increased knowledge based on indepth evaluation and research into the participation of victims, and a greater intervention of victim support organisations.