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Restorative Justice and Crime Victims. Module 3.1 Kentucky Victim Assistance Academy. 3.1 Learning Objectives. Identify the purpose of restorative justice Identify when restorative justice is not effective

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Restorative justice and crime victims

Restorative Justice and Crime Victims

Module 3.1

Kentucky Victim Assistance Academy

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3 1 learning objectives
3.1 Learning Objectives

  • Identify the purpose of restorative justice

  • Identify when restorative justice is not effective

  • Identify the difference between the restorative justice program used by the Dept. of Corrections and the restorative justice program promoted by the Defense Bar

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Restorative justice defined
Restorative JusticeDefined

  • Restorative justice emphasizes the importance of elevating the role of crime victims and community members through more active involvement in the justice process, holding offenders directly accountable to the people and communities they have violated, restoring the emotional and materials losses of victims, and providing a range of opportunities of dialogue, negotiation, and problem solving....(Umbreit)

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Restorative justice defined1
Restorative JusticeDefined

  • Restorative justice is both a philosophy and approach that balances the interests, rights and needs of victims, offenders, and the community. (Seymour)

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The seven values of restorative justice
The Seven Values ofRestorative Justice

  • Crime is an offense against human relationships.

  • Victims and the community are central to the justice process.

  • The first priority of justice processes is to assist victims.

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The seven values of restorative justice cont
The Seven Values ofRestorative Justice (cont.)

  • The second priority of justice processes is to restore the community, to the degree possible.

  • The offender has personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes committed.

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The seven values of restorative justice cont1
The Seven Values ofRestorative Justice (cont.)

  • The offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of the restorative justice experience.

  • Stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through partnerships for action.

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Restorative justice the community
Restorative Justice :The Community

  • Fear of crime and delinquency is a driving force.

  • Must validate that the community is hurt by crime:

    • Quality of life issues.

    • No such thing as a “victimless” crime.

    • Must address personal safety issues.

    • Recognition of the “domino effect” of crime.

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Restorative justice the community1
Restorative Justice :The Community

  • The community must define itself:

    • Not simply by geography.

    • Cultural, economic and geographic considerations all play a part.

    • Attention paid to the “minorstream”, as well as the “mainstream.”

  • Focus on community assets, not just deficits.

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Restorative justice the community2
Restorative Justice :The Community

  • Community empowerment to help members “own justice.”

  • Build on existing efforts:

    • Recognize and utilize existing “communities.”

    • Collaborate with community-based and focused efforts of the CJS and JJS.

    • Focus on proactive versus reactive approaches.

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Restorative justice the community3
Restorative Justice :The Community

  • Must assess our assumptions about the community and crime.

  • Identify key change agents (not always the visible leaders).

  • Collaboration and partnerships are key.

  • Informing and involving the news media are critical as well.

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Restorative justice the community4
Restorative Justice :The Community

  • Volunteers are essential!

  • Must represent victims, offenders, community members, and the CJS/JJS

  • Volunteer roles must be clearly defined.

  • Volunteer recognition keeps the wheels rolling!

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Restorative justice applications for the community
Restorative Justice :Applications for the Community

  • Identification of change agents.

  • Identification of community needs.

  • Community forums.

  • Community impact statements.

  • Merchant Accountability Boards.

  • Community Justice Centers.

  • Involvement of the news media.

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Restorative justice victims
Restorative Justice :Victims

  • Victims define the harm!

  • Understanding of victim trauma is essential.

  • Focus on not just that victims might be angry or frustrated, but why they are.

  • Respect for diversity among victims.

  • Victims’ rights, services and needs become a priority for the CJS, JJS and community-at-large.

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Restorative justice victims1
Restorative Justice :Victims

  • Involvement of victims and advocates in planning, implementation and evaluation related to restorative justice.

  • Outreach to non-reporting and non-adjudicated victims.

  • Use of “surrogate victims” when direct victims are unable or unwilling to participate.

  • Development of “victim-sensitive” outreach tools.

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Restorative justice victims2
Restorative Justice :Victims

  • Creation of victim-specific performance measures.

  • Focus on implementation of core victims’ rights:

    • Notification.

    • Restitution.

    • Protection.

    • Input/involvement.

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Restorative justice victims3
Restorative Justice :Victims

  • The “language” of community and restorative justice:

    • The “F” word…

    • Reconciliation.

    • Healing.

    • Closure.

    • Victim “responsibility.”

    • Role of punishment

    • “Restoring victims”

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Restorative justice victims cont
Restorative Justice :Victims (cont.)

  • Expectations of victims within a CJ framework.

  • “Not for all victims?”

  • “Past sins” must be identified and validated.

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Restorative justice applications for victims
Restorative Justice :Applications for Victims

  • Supportive services from the system and from the community.

  • Victim Advisory Councils.

  • Designated Victim Service Representatives in the CJS and JJS.

  • Revised victim impact statements.

  • Better coordination on restitution.

  • Victim awareness classes.

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Restorative justice offenders
Restorative Justice :Offenders

  • Share role as “client” with victims and the community.

  • Accountability and competency development are key tenets:

    • Community- and victim-driven support for both tenets.

    • Opportunities to show responsibility and to learn something positive.

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Restorative justice offender accountability
Restorative Justice :Offender Accountability

  • To victim, own family, community, and self.

  • Includes:

    • Individual self-assessments of obligations (including to whom)

    • Family obligations.

    • Community service.

    • Victim restitution.

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Restorative justice competency development
Restorative Justice :Competency Development

  • Education.

  • Basic living skills.

  • Job training.

  • Victim empathy.

  • Service to self and others.

  • Others?

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Restorative justice offenders1
Restorative Justice :Offenders

  • Community-based and prison/detention-based programs.

  • Approaches that are consistent and collaborative.

  • “Cycle of violence” and inter-generational problems addressed.

  • Strong efforts to encourage community support of offenders, and victim support of offender-directed restorative efforts.

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Restorative justice offenders2
Restorative Justice :Offenders

  • Victim information/input should be integrated into offender case planning.

  • Community members (including victims) should be recruited as volunteers and mentors.

  • Measurements for success are critical – establish benchmarks!

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Restorative justice applications for offenders
Restorative Justice :Applications for Offenders

  • Restorative community service.

  • “Victims First” programs (Nebraska).

  • Circles.

  • Mediation and family group conferencing.

  • Opportunities for employment and education.

  • “Surrogate” support systems from the community and from victims.

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Restorative justice the cj and jj systems
Restorative Justice:The CJ and JJ Systems

  • Must be willing to share responsibility for justice and community safety.

  • Need to change:

    • Performance measures.

    • Job descriptions.

    • View of “clientele.”

  • Validation and respect for cultural and geographic diversity.

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Restorative justice where do you go from here
Restorative Justice :Where Do You Go From Here?

  • Identify and clarify shared values for restorative justice.

  • Identify change agents and key stakeholders.

  • Continue work of planning/coordinating position and collaborative committee.

  • Encourage allied professions to follow the lead of corrections.

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Restorative justice where do you go from here1
Restorative Justice :Where Do You Go From Here?

  • Determine who in the CJS, JJS, victim service community, and/or community needs to be “brought on board.”

  • Training and cross-training.

  • Build on existing efforts.

  • Determine how restorative justice fits with federal and private funding opportunities.

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Restorative justice where do you go from here2
Restorative Justice :Where Do You Go From Here?

  • Prioritize programmatic approaches and obtain planning, training and evaluation resources.

  • Market research.

  • Community building and bonding.

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For more information
For More Information…..

Anne Seymour

[email protected]

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Communicating effectively with crime victims survivors

Communicating Effectively with Crime Victims & Survivors


Anne Seymour

National Crime Victim Advocate

[email protected]

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • Describe victim trauma and how it may affect communications with victims

  • Identify how to encourage effective communication

  • Learn and practice tips about talking to victims and dealing with victim trauma

  • Use personal experience to inform discussion of effective victim communications

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“Victims remember

two things:

those who help,

and those who hurt.”

- Cheryl Ward Kaiser

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What are some of the


you face in talking to victims?

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Why you should be concerned with victim trauma musc
Why You Should Be Concerned with Victim Trauma (MUSC)

  • Major factor in victims’ failure to cooperate with the CJS and community corrections

  • Can increase victims’ cooperation

  • Can improve their favorable perceptions of the CJS and community corrections

  • Can decrease potential for secondary trauma.

  • Can increase effectiveness of victim input

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Common victim stressors
Common Victim Stressors

  • Seeing the offender in court or at a release hearing

  • (Re)thinking about the crime before dealing with justice professionals

  • Wondering if you’ll be believed and/or blamed

  • Not understanding the system and what is going on

  • Protection/safety issues

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Factors that affect trauma
Factors that Affect Trauma

  • Existing stressors in one’s life

  • Past traumatic experiences, including prior victimization

  • Treatment by others (including family members, friends and justice professionals)

  • Mental health and supportive services

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Common immediate reactions
Common Immediate Reactions

  • Terror

  • Shock

  • High anxiety

  • Can’t believe it has happened

  • Physiological arousal

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Common short term reactions
Common Short-term Reactions

  • High anxiety

  • May or may not look distressed

  • Disturbed concentration

  • Concerns about safety

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Concerns about who to tell

  • Concerns about being believed, and not being blamed

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REMEMBER…..The amount of time between when the crime occursand your interactions with victimsmay affect your communications…..

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Long term reactions ptsd
Long-term ReactionsPTSD

  • Person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

    • Experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.

    • The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

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Other long term psychological responses
Other Long-term Psychological Responses

  • Depression

  • Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts

  • Alcohol and other drug abuse

  • Problems with relationships

  • Changing view of the world:

    • As a “safe place”

    • Trust issues

    • Seeking justice

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Theory and victim trauma
Theory and Victim Trauma

  • Stress theory: developmental, chronic/occupational, and acute.

  • Classical conditioning.

  • Avoidance.

  • Generalizability.

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What affects your communications with victims
What Affects YOUR Communications with Victims?

  • How much information you have about the victim and the case

    • How and where do you get this?

  • Victim trauma and their reactions to you

  • Victim understanding of the CJS, prosecution and court processes

  • YOUR level of comfort……

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Quick activity
Quick Activity

  • Explaining your role:

    • Working with victims/survivors

    • Working with prosecutor

    • Working with victim service providers

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Possible effects of victim reactions on communications
Possible Effects of Victim Reactions on Communications

  • Difficult interviews with victims:

    • Who are angry, confused, highly traumatized or don’t want to talk to you

  • Limited information:

    • On what you can tell the victim

    • On what the victim can tell you

  • Stressful to you:

    • Vicarious trauma

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You can discourage effective communication by
You Can Discourage Effective Communication by:

  • Talking too much or too fast

  • Talking too little

  • Using jargon and not being clear





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You can discourage effective communication by 2
You Can Discourage Effective Communication by/2:

  • Lack of attention to affect of the victim

  • Behaving in a blaming, defensive or judgmental manner

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You can encourage communication by
You Can Encourage Communication By:

  • Body language & tone of voice

  • Explaining the process/reason for your communications to the victim

  • Setting guidelines for the interview

  • Sensitivity to cultural issues

  • Sensitivity to victims with special needs or concerns.

  • Addressing confidentiality.


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Ovc video
OVC Video

Listen to my Story:

Communicating with Victims of Crime

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Effective communications with victim survivors
Effective Communications with Victim Survivors

  • Foundation skills:

    • Active listening

    • Paraphrasing

    • Reflective listening

    • Affirming

    • Open-ended and closed-ended questions

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Effective communication
Effective Communication

In effective communication,

one person conveys information

or a message to another, and they

both agree on the meaning.

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Active listening
Active Listening

  • Listening carefully to what the speaker is saying, without judgment or evaluation

  • Listening to content of the message, as well as the feelings being expressed

  • Attempting to stand in the other’s shoes to understand and relate to another’s situation and feelings

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How do you practice active listening
How Do You Practice Active Listening?

  • Be attentive

  • Take time to listen to the full story or discussion without interrupting

  • Allow client to be silent

  • Ask for clarification or repetition of statements

  • Listen without judgment

  • Set your reactions aside and focus on the victim’s feelings

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Active listening example
Active Listening Example

“I know I said I was afraid of him and wanted a protective order, but I didn’t really mean it.

Our kids need a dad and I really need him to keep working to support us. I mean, he’s never hurt the kids that I know of, and he’s a really good provider when he doesn’t get liquored up and angry at me.”

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  • Stating back to the victim in your own words what you understood the victim to say

  • PURPOSE: To make sure that you heard and understood what the victim said and is feeling

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How do you paraphrase
How Do You Paraphrase?

  • Listen to the victim carefully, focusing on key words, phrases and concepts

  • Repeat what the speaker said, using your own words, without changing the meaning

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Paraphrasing example
Paraphrasing Example

“I know it’s just a burglary, which I know is no big deal. But my kids are afraid when I open the front door to go in my house; and a lot of our stuff that was stolen were family heirlooms. I am just frightened and frustrated….”

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Reflective listening
Reflective Listening

  • Reflecting his/her feelings back to the victim

  • PURPOSE: To make sure that you have understood what the victim is feeling, although the victim may not have expressed the feelings

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Techniques to practice reflective listening
Techniques to Practice Reflective Listening

  • Listen carefully

  • Make a mental note of key points

  • Notice how you are feeling

  • Ask yourself how you would feel if you were the victim, as you listen to him/her share the experience

  • Listen for what is not being said

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  • Statements that recognize and validate a victim’s strengths, without seeming patronizing

  • PURPOSE: To help build the victim’s confidence in his or her ability to persist

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Affirmation example
Affirmation Example

“At first, I was really scared when

I received your message about going to court and having to testify, but I think I made the right decision in calling you back.”

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Open ended vs closed ended questions
Open-ended vs. Closed-ended Questions

  • Open-ended: Cannot be answered by “yes” or “no”

  • Closed-ended: Can be answered by “yes” or “no”

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Getting information with questions
Getting Information with Questions

  • Ask yourself what information you need to get before you ask a question

  • Ask questions that will help you provide effective services to the victim

  • Ask questions one at a time (multiple questions can easily confuse or put off the other person)

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Small group activity based upon your experiences
SMALL GROUP ACTIVITY:Based Upon YOUR Experiences…..

What are some


you can practice

to say to victims?

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Small group activity based upon your experiences1
SMALL GROUP ACTIVITY: Based Upon YOUR Experiences…..

What are some


you should never say to


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Things to convey
Things to Convey

  • You are not alone

  • What happened to you is not your fault – nobody deserves to be a victim of crime

  • We have resources that can help you.

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Be prepared for initial contact
Be Prepared for Initial Contact

  • Review all available info about victim:

    • Demographics

    • Risk factors

    • Reason for contact

  • ID preferred method of communication (victim safety first!)

  • ID any victim support

  • ID venue for contact

  • Confirm that victim is comfortable with proposed arrangements

  • Prepare summary of your agency services

  • Have referrals ready!

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Basic needs assessment see handout
Basic Needs Assessment(see handout)

  • Really basic issues

  • Assistance and services

  • Implementation of victims’ rights

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Follow on to your contact
Follow-on to Your Contact

  • Concrete “action steps:”

    • Immediate issues (i.e., safety)

    • Who does what?

    • Time frame

  • Any information that will be shared and with whom

  • Future and ongoing arrangements for contact

  • Referrals, and follow-on to referrals

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Two goals in communications
Two Goals in Communications



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Ways to promote safety and accountability
Ways to Promote Safety and Accountability

  • Respect (and explain) confidentiality

  • Acknowledge injustice

  • Respect victim’s autonomy

  • Promote access to services

  • Refer to community-based services

  • Validate victim’s experiences

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Be prepared to discuss
Be Prepared to Discuss…..

  • Options

  • Opportunities

  • Possible outcomes

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Time tips
Time Tips

  • Be prepared!

  • Try to find a scheduled block of time to contact victims or return their calls

  • Think about what information you need to give or receive:

    • Write it down in advance

  • Have a good list of referrals

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Time limits start at the beginning
Time Limits:Start at the Beginning…..

  • “It’ll help both of us if we can identify and focus on your major needs/concerns.”

  • “Thanks for calling. Let’s see if we can identify ways I can assist you.”

  • “I’d like to help you, or figure out who is the best person to help you.”

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Time limits start at the beginning1
Time Limits:Start at the Beginning…..

  • “I only have # minutes. I wish I had more time, but let’s see what we can do to meet your needs in this timeframe.”

  • “I am not a counselor, but can offer you referrals if you need more help.”

  • “My job is to ____________. It sounds like you need to talk to someone with the experience to help you. Can I offer you a referral?”

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Time limits ending a conversation
Time Limits: Ending A Conversation

  • Search for a “break” in the victim’s conversation with you.

  • Express appreciation for their call:

    • “I’m glad you called….”

    • “The information you’ve given me is helpful.”

    • “Thanks for taking time to share your concerns/issues….”

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Time limits ending a conversation1
Time Limits: Ending A Conversation

  • “As I said earlier, I wish I had more time to speak with you. Since I don’t, is there any final information I should have about……….?”

  • Offer “action steps” that you and/or the victim should take, and/or referrals.

  • If possible, provide a time line for the action steps.

  • Thank the victim for calling.

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One final thought

You may be the first person the victim has spoken to,


you may be

the most important person

the victim needs to talk to!

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For more information1
For More Information….


[email protected]

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This Instructor Manual was produced by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and Western Kentucky University under 2011VFGXK004, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Instructor Manual are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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