The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices on Victims of Crime: Evidence from South Africa


Restorative justice is a holistic philosophy that has become increasingly popular in reformist criminal justice debates and criminological research. However, there is some debate as to whether its programs adequately address victims’ needs. To this end, this paper analyses the effectiveness of restorative justice practices on victims of crime. Drawing on my interviews conducted with victims of crime and legal experts in South Africa, the findings of this study offer support for the effectiveness of a restorative justice approach to addressing victim satisfaction. Restorative justice can enable the needs of victims to be more fully considered during the criminal justice process. This is very different from contemporary criminal justice, which has often effectively excluded victims from almost every aspect of its proceedings despite its continuous reform to protect and promote victims’ rights.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2021-03-01
Pages:98 to 110
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Author Biographies

University of KwaZulu-Natal
 South Africa

BA (Criminology), BA Honours (Criminology), MA (Criminology and Forensic Studies), DPhil (Criminology and Forensic Studies) / University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Dr Patrick Murhula is currently attached to the Department of Law and Management as well as to the Department of Criminology and Forensic Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His research interests include Restorative Justice, Corrections, Gender-Based Violence, Forensic Criminology, Human Trafficking and African Criminology.

University of KwaZulu-Natal
 South Africa

Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology), University of Gondar, Ethiopia;  Master of Public Health, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia; PhD (Criminology and Forensic Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Dr Tolla is currently attached to the Department of Criminology and Forensic Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research interests include Human Trafficking, Child Trafficking, Sex trafficking, Drug Trafficking, African Criminal Justice System, African Indigenous Systems, Gender Based Violence, Cybercrime.