DSS Logo

Postnet Suite 226, Private Bag x9307, Polokwane, 0700 ∘ mediation@settledisputes.co.za ∘ +27 (0) 76 079 0214

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is an aspect of the criminal justice system focussing on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.

The United Nations defines Restorative Justice as any process in which the victim and the offender and (where appropriate) any other individuals or community members affected by a crime, actively participate in the resolution of matters arising from the crime, with the help of a facilitator.

Restorative Justice is a philosophy, embraced by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in South Africa, focussing on the needs of victims and the needs of communities affected by crime, as opposed to solely concentrating on apportioning blame, guilt and fixing punishment of the offender. Restorative Justice is a shift away from the inadequate notion of retribution by the Criminal Justice System.

Restorative Justice can be understood as a response to crime that focuses on restoring losses suffered by victims, holding offenders accountable for the harm they have caused and building peace within communities.

Restorative Justice requires that:

  • offenders recognise the harm they have caused and to accept responsibility for their actions;
  • offenders are taken through processes that prepare them for reintegration into society; and, that
  • offenders are also recognised as victims of circumstance.

Call Anastasia on 076 079 0214 or send an email to anastasia@settledisputes.co.za to schedule a FREE 30 minute information session to learn more about the process.

Alternatively you can complete the Request for More Information Form by clicking on the More Information tab at the top of this page.

Diversion

Diversion is a formal process in which offenders accept responsibility for the crime committed, make amends for what they have done and initiating a healing process for themselves, their families, the victims and the community. The goal of diversion is for offenders to rejoin the law-abiding community and prevent re-offending by keeping offenders out of prison.

Diversion can take place at one of four stages in the criminal justice process:

  • Before a charge is laid against an accused person;
  • Before the case goes to court - in which case the accused person (offender), if diverted, will not be required to enter a plea;
  • Before sentencing - in which case the offender will have been found guilty of the offense but will be spared jail-time by participation in a diversion programme;
  • Prior to release from prison - in the case where an offender has served time and needs to be rehabilitated back into the community.

Successful participation in the restorative justice process is a pre-requisite. If the participant fails to complete a diversion programme they may well be taken back into the criminal justice system, i.e. proceed to court, or proceed to sentencing depending on the point at which they were diverted out of the system.

Call Anastasia on 076 079 0214 or send an email to anastasia@settledisputes.co.za to schedule a FREE 30 minute information session to learn more about the process.

Alternatively you can complete the Request for More Information Form by clicking on the More Information tab at the top of this page.

Pre-requisites

Prosecution Policy Directives identify specific criteria that offenders (or accused persons) must meet before any form of diversion will be considered:

  1. The prerequisites for diversion as provided for in the Child Justice Act of 2008 (Part 48) should be met.
  2. The accused person should:
    • have a fixed address;
    • acknowledge responsibility for the offence;
    • be prepared to participate in the programme.
  3. Accused persons with a criminal record and persons to whom the opportunity has been granted previously should only be considered for diversion in exceptional circumstances;
  4. The views of the victim as well as those of the investigating officer should be considered. They should be in general agreement with the diversion of the matter as well as the conditions thereof;
  5. Care should be taken when diverting a case where there is a close (or domestic) relationship between the victim and the accused person.

Call Anastasia on 076 079 0214 or send an email to anastasia@settledisputes.co.za to schedule a FREE 30 minute information session to learn more about the process.

Alternatively you can complete the Request for More Information Form by clicking on the More Information tab at the top of this page.

Diversion Programmes

The structure of a diversion programme depends on the nature of the alleged crime committed by the accused person, the age of the person and whether the individual is a first-time offender or not.

Diversion programmes involve a set of tasks ranging from:

  • A written apology or some form of symbolic restitution;
  • Counselling or therapy in a specific area, for example anger management; and,
  • Spending time with family

to

  • A short spell of community service;
  • Family group or community group conferences; and,
  • Victim-offender mediation.

In more serious cases, extended community service, meaningful restitution and even some jail or rehabilitation time away from home may be involved.

Diversion programmes cannot be seen as soft options and the Criminal Justice System must be convinced that there is a reasonable chance that the offender will be rehabilitated by participation in such programmes.

Call Anastasia on 076 079 0214 or send an email to anastasia@settledisputes.co.za to schedule a FREE 30 minute information session to learn more about the process.

Alternatively you can complete the Request for More Information Form by clicking on the More Information tab at the top of this page.

More Information

Please complete and submit the Request for Information Form and we will contact you to make arrangements for your FREE 30 minute information session.

Please Note: We use Google Forms and Google Sheets to manage our practice. After we have contacted you we will remove all information captured from this Google Sheet. We DO NOT pass on this information to other parties for any reason whatsoever.