This research proposal concerns the justice motives victims of crime describe for their participation in a restorative intervention. Victim participation in a restorative intervention, which provides an active role for the victim in the search for reparation and conciliation, implies that a victim-participant is willing to engage herself in dealing with the offender. Empirical findings suggest that victims are not only looking to meet their own needs for reparation, voice and empowerment through participation in the restorative intervention. Victims also seem to consider societal interests, such as raising victim awareness and contributing to a safer society. Accordingly, restorative justice may not only serve personal motives, but also prosocial motives. Theoretical insight into such justice motives related to restorative justice remains to be elaborated. The proposed research is looking to identify and theoretically explain the personal and societal interests victims consider when agreeing to meet their offenders and confront them with the material and emotional consequences of their delinquent acts. Furthermore, it is intended to see whether such justice motives exist prior to participation or are triggered by the restorative intervention. A final empirical objective concerns the potential impact of legal-cultural differences on victims’ justice motives, more particularly of victims’ experiences in an inquisitorial or adversarial regime. The observations made in this study would advance insight into the significance, extent and evolution in personal and prosocial justice motives as well as clarify the role victims are willing to play in the aftermath of the crime in the criminal justice system, of which restorative practices are a part. To this end, semi-structured interviews will be conducted in Belgium and the UK with crime victims who have just agreed to participate in victim-offender mediation or conferencing and those who have completed the intervention.
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