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What is Restorative Justice?

LEARNING HUB | 17th December 2023

Restorative Justice is as process of independent, facilitated contact, which supports constructive dialogue between a victim and a person who has harmed (whether this be an adult, child, young person or a representative of a corporate or other body) arising from an offence or an alleged offence (Guidance for the Delivery of Restorative Justice in Scotland, 2017).

Restorative Justice is an inclusive approach of addressing harm or the risk of harm through engaging all those affected in coming to a common understanding and agreement on how the harm or wrongdoing can be repaired, relationships maintained and justice achieved (The European Forum of Restorative Justice).

Restorative Justice is available in some areas of Scotland for adults and for young people in conflict with the law. Below are details about the RJ service that is available in Edinburgh currently. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Restorative Justice Meetings for people who have been harmed by Hate Crime

(Other crime types may be considered)

What is a Hate Crime? A hate crime is any crime motivated by prejudice against:

  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Disability
  • Transgender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice (or RJ) brings people together to talk about the impact of crime, and to decide what the person who committed the offence needs to do to make things right. RJ might involve the person who committed the hate offence and the person harmed having a face-to-face meeting, or it might involve exchanging letters.

RJ does not replace the criminal justice system, but it does help people harmed by hate crime to regain control of their lives and reduce the potential for further crime.

“They never knew they’d caused so much pain”

How does RJ for Hate Crime work?

You will meet with a trained facilitator – or facilitators from the City of Edinburgh Council who will help you prepare to discuss the hate offence and its impact, and to help you think about what might need to be done to repair the harm caused by the offence.

If you decide to take part then later change your mind, this is ok. If you decide you don’t want to do it then change your mind later, this is ok too.

The Meeting

(Restorative Justice Conference)

If you and the person who has caused harm, and your facilitator/s, agree that it’s right to arrange a meeting, then it will go ahead. Sometimes a face-to-face meeting isn’t appropriate, but exchanging letters might be. We will not pass on your address or contact details – all letters would be sent to the facilitator to pass on.

You might like to bring someone with you for support – you will have talked about this with your facilitator/s in advance.

The facilitator/s will guide the meeting, which usually takes about an hour and a half. During the meeting everyone will have a chance to speak and have their say.

At the end of the meeting there will be an agreement about what the person who harmed you should do to make it right.

How can Restorative Justice help me?

  • RJ allows you to have your say to the person that harmed you
  • You get a chance to explain to the person how their actions affected you
  • You can ask questions and may get answers about what happened
  • You can help someone understand the consequences of their actions and of hate crime
  • You can get closure and move on with your life

For more information email or call 0131 221 2030.

You can also email or call 07468 651603.

If you are interested in joining the Scottish Network for Restorative Justice Practitioners then please contact Gael Cochrane.

Further resources related to the network can be found here.