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Restorative Justice

The service

Restorative justice (RJ) is a voluntary process that brings Harmers and Harmed together to repair the harm caused.
The concept started in New Zealand’s Maori communities in response to a thirst for a different approach to justice. At first it took the form of family group conferencing, arising from communities’ desire to learn how to resolve disputes themselves.  

RJ was developed further in Australia, where the ‘script’ we use today evolved from the work of psychologists analysing how behaviour change is initiated. It came to the UK in the early 1990s and is now built into criminal justice systems across Europe. It is also used widely in Canada and America and is especially favoured in Native American communities as a means of dispute resolution.


  • At Sussex Pathways, we facilitate restorative justice both inside prison and in the community. RJ can be a powerful process, and Sussex Pathways is proud to be part of the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership and able to deliver this service.



Our clients

Although the RJ process is led by the victim of crime, referrals to begin restorative justice can be made by either the Harmed or Harmed.


What we offer

When we receive a request for Restorative Justice, it is assessed against the Partnerships safety criteria and checked for suitability before progressing. If the case is suitable, it is assigned two neutral facilitators who have undergone accredited restorative justice training and who work with both parties to set up and facilitate communication. Key elements of the process are:

  • Flexibility – according to each party’s needs – RJ can take the form of a face to face meeting, letter, or shuttle communication, depending on what the victim of crime is comfortable with

  • Structure - facilitators do not mediate or control communication between participants when they meet. Instead, they adhere to a structured script which gives each person in the room the chance to speak and have their voice heard.

  • The right to withdraw - either party can withdraw at any point.


Support from Sussex PCC

Sussex Pathways is proud to be supported by Katy Bourne, the serving Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC). Sussex Pathways receives the majority of funding for restorative justice services from the PCC.  Our restorative justice practice also forms part of the Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership (SRJP).  The SRJP, chaired by Nicola Walker of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, brings together restorative justice practitioners in Sussex in order to regulate and maintain best practice. Sussex Pathways attends SRJP meetings at the PCC’s office in Lewes once a month. In addition to this, the SRJP organises specialist restorative justice training courses and promotional events involving prominent speakers in the restorative justice community.

For more information on the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, please visit

How RJ makes a difference

To clients

Restorative Justice has a huge impact on people’s lives. 


It helps victims of crime to:

  • Have a voice

  • Receive an explanation from the person who has caused them harm

  • Overcome the trauma and anxiety caused by the incident

  • Come to terms with what has happened and understand that it is not something that happens every day

  • Have closure and continue with their daily life


It helps Harmers to:

  • See the consequences of their actions and take responsibility

  • Understand that offending is negative behaviour with a serious impact

  • Become self-aware of their behaviour and life choices

  • Begin to make positive changes to avoid reoffending


To health and wellbeing

RJ helps both Harmed and Harmers overcome the trauma of what has happened.

It can be the first step in a Harmer's journey away from negative behaviour and self-hatred. It can reduce the likelihood of reoffending and reduce self-harm.

Harmed and Harmers benefit from:

  • A sense of closure which helps emotional wellbeing

  • An understanding of what has happened to aid recovery

  • A chance to talk about how the incident has affected them – to reduce anxiety and trauma


To the prison environment

RJ makes a difference to the prison environment by:

  • Increasing residents’ understanding of the consequences of their actions

  • Fostering self-awareness and self-esteem and a sense of responsibility

  • Emotionally and morally aware offenders who are more likely to make positive choices

  • A dialogue between the justice system and the victims of crime.


To society

RJ contributes to a safer society through:

  • A better understanding of the causes and effects of crime

  • Opportunities for victims of crime to feel listened to and understood, rather than just cases in a judicial system

  • Increased awareness of the judicial system and its role within the community

  • Safer and more accountable communities.

If you would like to know more about RJ; or discuss how it might work for you. Call us on  01273 785335  or fill in our contact form 


We would love to make more people aware of how RJ can help them. Support us now 

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