‘It is successful, and if it is successful, it reduces crime, and it can make the victims happier’: volunteers’ perceptions of working in restorative justice

Kitson-Boyce, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-9600-1830 and Athwal-Kooner, P., 2024. ‘It is successful, and if it is successful, it reduces crime, and it can make the victims happier’: volunteers’ perceptions of working in restorative justice. Journal of Forensic Practice. ISSN 2050-8794

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Purpose: The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of those volunteering within a Restorative Justice service thus enabling an insight into their perceptions of the different methods used, their beliefs about Restorative Justice effectiveness and its place within the Criminal Justice System (CJS). The study also sought to identify any challenges and positive experiences the participants encountered during their role as a volunteer, with volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic explored specifically.

Methodology: Data was collected from the participants (n=5) via semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis, thus enabling patterns within the experience of the volunteers to be identified.

Findings: A prior understanding and interest in Restorative Justice was evident within the data, with participants demonstrating a preference for direct, face to face mediations. The perceived lack of support from external agencies was discussed along with the role of education in their volunteering experience. Finally, it was acknowledged that although face-to-face practice was deemed the most effective overall, certain practices adopted during Covid-19 enabled aspects of the role to be carried out more efficiently, and equally as effective.

Practical implications: The findings from this study draw out real-world implications, producing tangible action points for Restorative Justice services. Some tentative suggestions for future practice are outlined.

Originality: The volunteers’ role within Restorative Justice is often over-looked within the literature (Paul and Borton, 2013) and time constraints can add additional barriers to a hard-to-reach population. However, volunteers play a vital role in Restorative Justice. By exploring and listening to the volunteers’ experience, this study expands an additional strand within the literature in terms of what makes Restorative Justice effective and the challenges that are faced from a volunteer perspective.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Forensic Practice
Creators: Kitson-Boyce, R. and Athwal-Kooner, P.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 16 April 2024
ISSN: 2050-8794
Rights: © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 23 Apr 2024 10:28
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2024 10:28
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/51297

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