The values and principles of restorative justice

  • Restorative justice processes must comply with the rule of law, human rights principles and the rights provided in the South African Constitution.
  • Restorative justice must promote the dignity of victims and offenders and ensure that there is no domination or discrimination.
  • All parties must be provided with complete information as to the purpose of the process, their rights within the process and the possible outcomes of the process.
  • Parties should clearly understand that they may withdraw from the process at any time.
  • Parties must be given reasonable amount of time to consider their options, when a restorative justice option is proposed
  • Referral to restorative justice processes is possible at any stage of the criminal justice system, with particular emphasis on pre-trial diversion, plea and sentence agreements, pre sentence process, as part of the sentence, and part of the reintegration process, including parole.
  • Participation in restorative justice processes must be voluntary for all parties, including victims.
  • Victims and offenders should be allowed to bring support persons to the encounter provided that this does not compromise the rights and safety of any other party.

The benefits of restorative approach to justice are

  • Preventing re-offending
  • Empowering victims
  • Benefiting criminal justice agencies
  • Enhance community involvement in the dispute resolution process