Restorative Justice

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Restorative Justice provides an opportunity for everyone involved in a crime (the person harmed and the person responsible for the harm) to communicate. 

They might be brought together into a room to speak with each other or they might be supported to communicate in other ways, for example by writing letters.  The whole process is supported by highly trained facilitators, who will make sure it is safe for everyone. 

Restorative Justice gives the person that was harmed the chance to explain the impacts of the crime and ask any questions they might have. It also provides an opportunity for the person who caused the harm to take responsibility for their actions and attempt to make amends. 

Restorative Justice is not an alternative to your sentence.  It is completely voluntary. That means that either person can choose to stop the process at any time. 

The Restorative Justice process can be requested by either party. However, each organisation offering Restorative Justice services have their own policies. For example, in the organisation Thriving Survivors, only the person that was harmed can begin the process in cases of sexual or domestic crime.

If you have been convicted of an offence that involved harm being done to another person, you may want to consider whether you would be open to taking part in a Restorative Justice process. 

In 2023, a piece of research was published that looked at how people who had been convicted of a sexual offence viewed participation in Restorative Justice.  The research found that many people felt nervous and apprehensive about the idea of meeting with the person they had harmed. However, most of the research participants wanted to take accountability for the harm they had caused and they also wanted to help the person they had harmed in their recovery. 

Source: Restorative Justice & Sexual Harm: The Voices of Those Who Have Harmed

According to Community Justice Scotland, Restorative Justice might help you in the following ways:

  • Restorative Justice 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

Source: Community Justice Scotland

A table with examples of appropriate language use
A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
March 15, 2024
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