New national hubs pave way.
Pioneering new restorative justice services will “put victims at the heart of the justice system and bring huge benefits for years to come”.
Justice Secretary Keith Brown has welcomed the launch of two hubs that will pave the way for restorative justice services to be rolled out across Scotland.
The new National Hub within Community Justice Scotland, will have a strategic, oversight role. It will also manage delivery of an initial test project in the Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders area establishing best working practices, before services are developed in other regions.
This hub and spoke model will allow nationally high standards of service to be maintained, while also offering restorative justice that meets local needs and circumstances.
In addition a Thriving Survivors hub is being set up to offer a safe, trauma informed service to support cases involving sexual harm.
The Scottish Government has so far invested more than £725,000 in the roll out of restorative justice services.
Mr Brown said:
“Providing a national restorative justice service is consistent with our clear commitment to putting victims at the heart of the justice system.
“It is absolutely vital that victims are given a voice via person-centred services where their needs and values are respected and supported as part of their journey towards healing and recovery.
“It is crucial the service provided is safe, consistent, and of a high standard nationally and fundamentally it is vital to remember this is voluntary and must have the needs of the person who has been harmed central to the process.
“It is not a substitute or alternative to the criminal justice system but a means of putting victims first in a way that I am sure will be of benefit to a number of people for very many years to come.”
Gemma Fraser, Head of Restorative Justice, Community Justice Scotland said:
“It is important that people who experience harm caused by crime are empowered with the ability to voice the deeply personal impact of that, and given a choice in how they may wish to experience meaningful justice in Scotland. Funding restorative justice is essential to ensure safe and secure approaches to this, to prevent further harm, and enable recovery with supported access to services which address additional needs.”
Ashley Scotland, Chief Executive of Thriving Survivors, said:
“Research shows there’s a real demand from survivors of sexual abuse for restorative justice to be available in Scotland in a safely managed way. It’s very much an individual decision, but it can empower survivors of harm to take back power, choice and control in their lives and can help their recovery.”
Restorative Justice Q&A: What is restorative justice?
- Restorative justice is a voluntary, facilitated, supported process of contact between someone who has been harmed and the person who caused that harm.
- Both parties must consent voluntarily, can withdraw at any time and at no point is either party offered any kind of incentive to participate.
- The needs of the person harmed is central to the process. They set the pace and can stop the process at any time.
- The person who has done the harm has to acknowledge the harm, and take responsibility for restorative justice to proceed.
- It is not quick. It involves many steps including suitability risk assessment, emotional preparatory work and after-care support. It can be halted by any participant or by the practitioner at any time.
- Contact can take many forms – such as face-to-face meetings or facilitated letter writing.
What restorative justice isn’t:
- It is not an alternative to the criminal justice system.
- It is never compulsory.
- It is not about apologies or forgiveness, although these things may happen.
- It is not mediation where parties enter as equals. The entire process is based on acknowledging that one person was harmed, and the other person caused that harm.
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