Restorative Justice Meetings for Hate Crime are available in Edinburgh for those who are on social work supervision (other crime types may be considered).
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice (or RJ) brings people together to talk about the impact of crime, and to decide what you need to do to make things right. RJ might mean you and your victim having a face-to-face meeting, or it might involve sending one another letters.
Restorative Justice does not replace the criminal justice system, but it does help people harmed by crime to get back control of their lives and reduce the potential for further crime.
Restorative Justice is not an alternative to your sentence. Your social worker will be involved in helping you prepare to take part in Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice looks at the needs of the people involved and attempts to address and repair the harms caused, to help everyone move on with their lives.
What is a Hate Crime? A hate crime is any crime motivated by prejudice against:
- religion or belief
- transgender identity
- sexual orientation
How does RJ work?
You will meet with a trained facilitator (possibly two) from the City of Edinburgh Council who will help you prepare to discuss the 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 later that you do, this is ok too. Restorative Justice is voluntary.
If you and the person harmed, and your facilitator(s), agree that it’s right to arrange a meeting, then it will go ahead. We call this the Restorative Justice conference. Sometimes a face-to-face meeting isn’t appropriate, but exchanging letters might be. We will not share 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 you should do to make things right.
“I never thought I’d feel so much better”
How can Restorative Justice help me?
- RJ allows you to speak to the person affected by your behaviour
- You get a chance to explain to the person why you did what you did
- You might like to apologise
- You can better understand the consequences of your actions and of the harm
- You can help your victim get closure and move on with their life
- You can make an agreement about what you can do to make things right
To help people get the most they can from Restorative Justice services and facilitators must follow some rules. Below are the main ones:
Voluntary – This means the person harmed and person responsible only take part if they want to; neither can be forced and either can stop at any time. The facilitator can stop the process if it becomes unsafe.
Informed Consent – This means that before the person harmed and person responsible agree to take part, they are given enough information to help them decide. This includes the facilitators’ role, what support to expect and the possible risks and benefits of participating.
Safe – This means the person harmed and the person responsible should feel and be safe when taking part. This includes having support, like your social worker, mental health worker, friend or family member. If you don’t have support, the facilitator will help you with this.
For more information about Restorative Justice email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07468 651603.