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The editorial team warmly welcome Mrs. Professor Lena Dominelli, and Mr. Professor Malcolm Payne, two prominent internationally social work personalities who have kindly accepted to be part of our journal’s International Advisory Board starting with issue no. 1/2010.
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Homepage > Archive > Numar: 4 > Accessibility of Restorative Justice: Attitudes as Barriers to Greater Referrals

 Accessibility of Restorative Justice: Attitudes as Barriers to Greater Referrals

  • Malini Laxminarayan (Hague Institute for Global Justice. E-mail:
  • Annemieke Wolthuis (Verwey-Jonker Institute in the Netherlands. E-mail:

Many studies assessing the benefits of restorative justice have emphasized how such procedures can lead to greater satisfaction, empowerment for the victim, and less re-offending by the offender. Despite these findings, restorative justice procedures are not reaching their full potential due to barriers in accessibility. One factor at the core of inaccessibility is the lack of a restorative culture, and instead the punitive attitudes of legal professionals which dominate criminal justice. As a result, many legal professionals fail to refer cases to restorative justice procedures, despite their ability to do so. This article presents empirical findings to illustrate how legal culture may be a reason that insufficient numbers of victims and offenders are being referred to restorative justice procedures. Information is provided based on qualitative data from referral bodies, such as the police, prosecutors and victim support, in addition to restorative justice practitioners. Practical implications are also discussed, focusing on how better cooperation and awareness can partly deal with the issue of a dominant punitive legal culture.

Keywords: restorative justice, legal culture, access to justice