A legislative right to restorative justice should replace the current ‘postcode lottery’, the Justice Committee said, in its Restorative justice report.
Under the Victim’s Code, victims have a right to be informed about restorative justice schemes. But the committee found there was ‘mixed compliance’ with it and said the schemes were subject to a ‘postcode lottery’.
It cited a poll that found public awareness of restorative justice was low, at 28%, but that 80% of people questioned thought victims should have the right to meet their offenders.
The committee said the Government should ‘work towards’ establishing a law that gives all victims the right to restorative justice, but said it should only be enacted once ministers have demonstrated that the system has the capacity to deliver.
Committee chairman Bob Neill MP said: ‘The priority must be to ensure that victims of crime are properly informed. The Ministry of Justice should focus its resources on ensuring restorativejustice is well understood by bodies within the criminal justice system who can then convey this information to victims.
‘A rigorous system should be introduced to improve compliance with the police’s requirement to inform victims – perhaps something as straightforward as a box at the end of the victim impact statement form,’ he said.
The Ministry of Justice said it would consider the report.