Respecting the Central Role of Victims
If you have been the victim of a crime, you may feel left “out of the loop” when the wheels of justice start turning. The person who offended may not be caught, or if s/he is caught and prosecuted, s/he may not have the opportunity or desire to try to make things right.
Restorative justice offers victims the opportunity to meet with people who have hurt them in a safe, supported environment. Victims are given the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what happened and why. If victims do not want to meet with those who have offended against them, Restorative Justice Panels made up of volunteers from the community work with people who have offended to help them more clearly understand the harm they committed, take responsibility for their actions and try to repair the damage done and settle the matter for everyone.
In some Vermont communities (Burlington, St. Albans, Barre) there are programs that provide limited financial support for victims of crimes. These programs may help pay for new windshields, replace stolen bicycles, install new locks, or provide other services to lessen the impact of the crime on the victim. In other communities (for example, Montpelier), victim outreach volunteers contact people who have been victims of crime immediately after the crime is committed to listen to their stories and offer support and information.