About us

Ten years since the crime

It has been ten years since Peter Woolf broke into Will Riley’s house and their subsequent meeting through Restorative Justice. In that time, it has been proven that RJ works. Peter and Will have achieved great changes in the lives of individuals and in institutions in the ten years since the crime. For the background story, read on!

The history

Why me? campaigns for victims of crime to have access to restorative justice. It was set up as a charity in 2008 and was the direct result of an event that happened one evening in March 2002.

Peter Woolf burgles

Peter Woolf, then a career criminal who’d been in and out of prison many times, broke into the home of Will Riley. Will discovered Peter and tried to restrain him.  The two fought until the police were called and Peter was arrested.  He went to prison again for that and other crimes, and it was there in Pentonville one day two years later, that his life changed for good.

Restorative justice meeting

Peter had agreed to take part in a restorative justice meeting with some of his victims.  In the room sitting there was Will, the man whose house he’d broken into.  Will’s explanation of the harm and hurt he’d caused him profoundly affected Peter.  In fact, Peter sees that moment as the time when he decided to change his life for the better.

The founding of Why me?

A couple of years later, Peter had kicked his addictions, was out of prison and was living a crime-free life, Will got in touch and the two became friends. It turned out that Will, a successful businessman, had also been extremely impressed by the way their restorative justice conference had helped him recover from the trauma.  It had given him back his confidence and made him feel safe in his own home again.  Both Will and Peter decided to work to make restorative justice something available to everyone and Why me? is a direct result of that.  The Woolf Within, a film made of their experiences, can be seen on our website or you can order a DVD.

Putting victims first

While restorative justice is very well known as a method of rehabilitating offenders and cutting reoffending rates, it is less known for the benefits it delivers to victims of crime. Trials have shown that an impressive majority of victims who meet their offender through restorative justice report their satisfaction with the process.  Many social workers, health professionals and victim support staff say restorative justice is often the key to a victim beginning to recover from the ordeal.  Why me? exists to promote restorative justice for the benefit of victims.  Although we acknowledge the great benefits it brings by cutting reoffending and making for a better society, and we work closely with other organisations who promote restorative justice, it is the needs and welfare of victims which remain our priority.

Funded by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and The Monument Trust.