Restorative justice (RJ) is a process that brings together those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm to safely discuss the harm and how it might be set right. International research suggests RJ can help victims recover from harm, encourage those involved in crime to desist from offending, and provide a more satisfying experience of the justice process. RJ is used across the world in a variety of ways, but only relatively infrequently in Scotland, and rarely with serious crime committed by adults. Given the evidence for the potential benefits of RJ for both victim and offender, as well as communities, the time has come to bring these insights to bear on the case for developing RJ in Scotland where and in ways in which it can be most helpful.
The project involved a series of events, facilitated as open, constructive dialogues or conversations, running from February to October 2017. The programme had events on: the evidence on RJ; RJ and sexual violence; RJ and desistance from crime; RJ and homicide; communicating justice; moving forward with RJ in Scotland. The events brought together expert speakers from a range of jurisdictions (including New Zealand, Belgium, Northern Ireland and England) and engaged with a wide range of criminal justice professionals in Scotland. Overall the programme was intended to explore the evidence regarding the nature, implementation and effectiveness of RJ and its potential in Scotland.
The project received £25,000 funding from the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, as well as additional funding from Community Justice Scotland and the Scottish Government.