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Title: How restorative justice 'works' : psychological changes expected and experienced by victims who communicate with offenders
Author: Batchelor, Diana
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 8943
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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There is evidence that some victims benefit from communication with offenders, at least some of the time, but little is known about how these benefits occur. Many have theorised about the mechanisms by which restorative justice produces outcomes for victims, but few have empirically tested these theories. This thesis proposes five main types of psychological change generated for victims by a specific restorative justice practice (communication with the offender), which in turn lead to satisfaction and wellbeing. Three studies were designed to test whether victims expect and experience changes in their perceptions of 1) procedural justice, 2) punishment, 3) prevention, 4) the offender and 5) themselves. Analysis of quantitative data from a national victimisation survey and a complementary smaller-scale online survey demonstrated that four of the five types of victim perception predicted willingness to meet the offender. Victims were particularly motivated to meet the offender when they believed the criminal justice system had failed to fulfil their justice objectives. Analysis of qualitative data from interviews with forty people demonstrated that victims expected and experienced each of the five types of psychological change, and attributed improvements in their wellbeing and satisfaction to having experienced these five changes. This constitutes preliminary but promising evidence that together the five mechanisms explain how communication with the offender benefits victims. The thesis also provides conceptual clarity on the precise nature of the changes that take place during victim-offender communication, and a theoretical framework upon which future studies can build. Knowledge of the mechanisms by which victim-offender communication 'works' can help victims make informed choices about participating, can enhance preparation and facilitation, and can contribute to the wider conversation about how to deliver meaningful justice for victims.
Supervisor: Hoyle, Carolyn ; Bradford, Ben Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Psychology ; Victimology ; Psychology ; Criminology