Coventry Restorative Stories is a project being run as part of Coventry City of Culture to promote awareness of Restorative Justice (RJ) within the city and to listen to the voices of people who have needed or used RJ.
What is Restorative Justice?
RJ brings those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
RJ is managed by a trained facilitator who is often a volunteer. They start by talking to all parties concerned: the victim, the offender and anyone else affected by the incident such as the wider community. The process often ends in a meeting between all these parties at which the offender undertakes some form of reparation for the harm caused.
The benefits to the victim, the offender and the public are well established :
- It is far cheaper than prison and is more effective at reducing repeat offending, so saving us all money.
- It is also cheaper than the traditional criminal justice system and can provide both victims and offenders with more satisfaction.
- Victims have fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms after taking part and less desire for violent revenge against the offender.
The Ministry of Justice stated in 2012 that it wants RJ to be embedded into the criminal justice system . But we are still very far from this, partly because it requires a change of culture on behalf of police, lawyers and judges and also because it requires the public to be more aware of the benefits so they are more likely to take part when it is offered to them.
An RJ Service is available within the West Midlands  which is free for criminal cases but charges for other cases, such as neighbour disputes.
What is Coventry Restorative Stories?
To promote wider public knowledge of RJ and help towards making it more available to everyone in Coventry free of charge, Coventry Restorative Justice Forum  and United Nations Association Coventry Branch  are running Coventry Restorative Stories , funded by a grant from the University of Warwick Institute of Engagement .
It aims to:
- Test public awareness of RJ.
- Increase public awareness of RJ.
- Listen to the voices of people who have needed or used RJ.
- Explore if there is an unsatisfied need for RJ.
- Discover if the current cost of RJ in non-criminal cases is an obstacle to participation.
For a video describing RJ see “Repairing the Harm” by Why me? , who have produced many other videos on the subject 
 Sherman, LW and Strang, H (2007) Restorative Justice: The Evidence. London: The Smith Institute, https://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf
 Ministry of Justice (2012), Restorative Justice Action Plan for the Criminal Justice System, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/217311/restorative-justice-action-plan.pdf
 West Midlands RJ Hub, http://www.rjwestmidlands.co.uk/
 Coventry Restorative Justice Forum, https://covrj.uk/cov-rj-forum/
 United Nations Association Coventry Branch, https://unacov.uk/
 Coventry Restorative Stories website https://covrj.uk/coventry-restorative-stories/
 University of Warwick Institute of Engagement, https://warwick.ac.uk/wie/
 Repairing the Harm video, Why me?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14I0GtoLxTY
 Why me YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/WhyMeUK/videos