This is due to its capacity to permit the victims to describe the anxiety, stress, and hurt caused by the crime to them to the offender. In order to promote the use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system, the Government has; first, prepared an action plan to develop the use of restorative justice. Second, it has introduced pre-sentence restorative justice, via the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Finally, the Government has included restorative justice in the Victims Code that has come into force from 10 December 2013 (Crown Prosecution Service, 2015).
With regard to victims’ rights, the first United Nations (UN) policy document on victims, included several important elements. Some of these being, the right of victims to be kept informed, fair treatment, proper consideration of their opinion, restitution, compensation, and provision of suitable services. A broad definition of victims was furnished in the UN Declaration of the Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. One of the objectives of this declaration was to highlight the plight of victims of women and children trafficking (Williams, 2005, p. 23).
Punitive or retributive justice has been the principal form of justice. It has been rendered by the state or inter-governmental agencies and mechanisms, with a view to control and reduce anti-social behaviour as defined by the state or inter-governmental authority. However, this definition of justice tends to ignore the requirement of victims for restitution, healing or reconciliation. Thus, such forms of justice render conflicts and their regulation the exclusive domain of the state or inter-governmental system. On the other hand, restorative justice functions on the principle of attempting to restore a relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, with a view to ensuring their co-existence in the same community (Murithi, 2009, p. 143). Moreover,