Page last updated at 17 May 2017 at 16:57
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative Justice involves a meeting between a person responsible for a harmful act, and the person who has been harmed by that act. Both parties can bring someone along to support them and the meeting is facilitated by a trained facilitator. All parties have the opportunity to talk about what happened and how they feel about it, and what impact it has had. They will then be asked to agree a way to repair the harm done and move forward.
Restorative Justice is based on 'The Three R's' Responsibility, Reparation and Reintegration. This means that the people responsible for causing harm to others take responsibility for their actions and make amends for them. It means that all parties have the opportunity move on from what has happened an play an active part in society.
The Eastleigh Restorative Justice Project
Eastleigh Community Safety Partnership are in the process of developing a new Restorative Justice Project led by the Community Safety Team at the council.
The project delivery team is hosted by Victim Support, working from their offices in Chandler’s Ford. Regular meetings of the team and its partners are held at Eastleigh Borough Council’s offices.
What does the project do?
The kinds of cases the team is dealing with include:
- Damage to property
- Noise nuisance
- Bullying or threatening behaviour – including cyber bullying
- Inconsiderate parking
- Low-level theft/burglary
- Minor assaults
Restorative Justice in this context is not about punishment or retribution, it’s about fostering understanding, respect and responsibility so that it doesn’t escalate into something more serious. We usually refer to the participants as ‘harmed’ and ‘harmer’ rather than victim and offender. They may be children or adults and we aim for the following beneficial outcomes:
- Harmer - to understand and take responsibility for the impact of their actions, to make amends and so be able to move forward in a more positive direction
- Harmed – to be heard and understood by telling others how it affected them, to ask questions of the harmer and to have a say in what the harmer should do to make amends
- Partner agencies – to reduce time/costs associated with normal methods of dealing with these cases, which may not consider the needs of the harmed person
What happens in a Restorative Justice case?
Two volunteers are allocated to each case. They speak to each party to hear their accounts of what has happened, and they assess whether a meeting between the parties would be beneficial. Sometimes it’s decided that a letter of apology, for example, would be more appropriate than a meeting. The harmer has a say in what they will do to make amends. The feelings and wishes of the harmed party are at the centre of this process.
If a meeting is arranged between the two parties, this is always in a safe place and carefully managed with set questions. Questions usually include, “What were you thinking at the time?” and “What do you think should be done to repair the harm caused?”.
Please contact Melvin Hartley Community Safety & Emergency Planning Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details if you have any questions and you will receive an email or call back.