Violent criminals are far less likely to re-offend if they meet their victim, according to a report seen by BBC News.
Restorative justice forces offenders to face up to their crimes
The study, led by a Cambridge University academic, says schemes helping offenders face up to crimes affect adults more than children.
It also suggests a victim's desire for violent revenge is reduced and their recovery from distress is aided.
Police and courts can arrange face-to-face meetings but some experts doubt if they help to cut crime.
British Crime Survey
BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Danny Shaw said: "This report, an evaluation of schemes across the world, indicates that restorative justice can lead to substantial reductions in re-offending.
"The more serious the offence, the better the results."
Last month, British Crime Survey findings revealed that the risk of becoming a victim of crime in England and Wales is rising for the first time since 1995.
The survey, regarded as a reliable measure of crime by the Home Office, said the risk had risen one percentage point to 24.3%.
And, in a separate measure, the number of crimes reported to police had fallen 3% in the third quarter of 2006 compared with the same period the previous year.
However, the risk of becoming a victim of crime in the UK is still lower than its peak of 40% in 1995.