The Sacro Restorative Justice (Diversion) Services operate from three offices (Services A, B & C) covering five of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland, as voluntary alternatives to prosecution for cases of minor crime. The services help facilitate communication between the person responsible for the offence (the accused) and the person harmed by the offence (the victim) in order for them to address the harm caused, reduce the likelihood of the re-occurrence of the offending behaviour, and move on from the offence. Previous research has shown that this type of intervention is generally found to be very satisfying for participants, particularly persons harmed by offending, and can help reduce the likelihood of re-offending. The services received 773 referrals in 2006/07, with one of the services exceeding its target and the other two falling short. There was a participation rate of 35%, which was below the 45-50% target, although within the general range established for international research. When both people agreed to participate, 82% of cases resulted in a satisfactory outcome, and success rates were highest when people actually met. There was a range of agreement outcomes, with most cases being dealt with without involving financial reparation, illustrating that the service is flexible and able to cater for the needs of service users. Demographic data shows that the appropriate priority groups are being targeted for this service. Systems have recently been introduced in order to collect data relating to restorative outcomes, such as feeling safer, the repair of relationships and moving on from the offence. Evaluating the impact on re-offending is very complex and this issue is discussed in detail. It is recommended that the services look at their practices for encouraging participation in the service, and the type and number of cases that are referred to the services, in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and value for money. In concluding, the services offer an effective way of dealing with offences outwith the court process, there is a constituency that is willing to engage in a restorative process, success rates are very high when people agree to participate, and the services are flexible enough to meet the needs of many people harmed by crime.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|