The Psychological Impact of Restorative Justice Practices on Victims of Crimes-a Systematic Review

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2023 Jul;24(3):1929-1947. doi: 10.1177/15248380221082085. Epub 2022 Apr 23.


Background: Restorative justice emerges as a theoretical-practical approach to the criminal legal system, in which the reparation of damage of the victim is a central point. However, the growing empirical production referring to the effects of this approach on victims is sometimes shown to be weakened or dispersed, focusing mainly on their satisfaction.

Objective: The present work intended to systematically evaluate the empirical production of the restorative justice field, to aggregate and examine information in the literature regarding the psychological impacts on victims who participated in restorative practices.

Methods: A search was made using electronic databases to identify quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method studies, published between January 2000 and December 2020 that reported psychological impacts on real victims of crimes, who participated in mediations/conferences victim-offender.

Results: 35 studies were identified as focusing on the psychological impacts on victims resulting from restorative practices. These studies have shown effects on post-traumatic symptomatology, on the emotions and emotional needs resulted from victimization, as well as on the victims' perceptions of their offenders.

Conclusions: The present research showed that restorative justice practices have a positive psychological impact on victims, who are frequently forgotten in conventional justice, and that some of these impacts persist over time.

Keywords: conference/mediation victim–offender; psychological impacts; restorative justice; systematic review; victims.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime / psychology
  • Crime Victims* / psychology
  • Criminals* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Negotiating