France: the possibility of a conversation

Can the culprit of an assault take part in the reparation for the victim? In France, restorative justice is a complementary practice to the criminal punishment for an offence.

In 2018, the French Institute for Restorative Justice carried out an evaluation of the sixty or so programmes completed across the nation with the aim of developing this little-known practice.

Maiana Bidegain is the codirector of Rencontre avec mon agresseur (Meeting my aggressor), a documentary that recounts the steps she took to meet the man who raped her when she was a child. Maiana Bidegain is one of the first people in France to participate in the process of restorative justice by direct mediation. We asked her three questions.

The criminal justice system had done its job – he had been imprisoned – but the problem had not been resolved. This meeting seemed to me a necessary step to imagine a future.

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