Restorative Justice Week 2022: A summary
This is a blog by Communications and Events Officer Keeva Baxter. The blog was updated on the 29th of November 2022.
Restorative Justice Week took place last week, and was packed full of exciting events, discussions and activities. This year’s theme was ‘Access to Restorative Justice’.
Thank you to all those who joined us to celebrate #RJWeek and amplify the message about increasing access to Restorative Justice. The week was a massive success with audiences from around the world interacting, a huge boost in the reach of our social media and many well-attended, fascinating events. In this blog we share some key findings from the events and activities that we were involved in over the week.
Restorative Talks: Using Restorative Justice for Domestic and Sexual Violence
We held the first of our ‘Restorative Talks’ events, focusing on the use of Restorative Justice for cases of Domestic and Sexual Violence. We were joined by three of our ambassadors who have experienced Restorative Justice in these cases, Janika, Lucy and Teresa, who bravely shared their stories and suggested ways to improve access in these cases. We were also joined by Becci Seaborne, a trauma-informed specialist with 22 years of experience and Why me?’s Deputy Director Linda Millington who specialises in serious and complex cases. In the event we discussed the importance of avoiding professional protectionism and gatekeeping, listening to the needs of the survivor and finding new ways to offer Restorative Justice without just relying on a leaflet which can be lost amongst the large amount of information given to survivors. The panel suggested that direct conversations with survivors, focusing on their needs rather than using the term ‘Restorative Justice’ as a tick box exercise is crucial. The evening ended with a drinks reception where the panel and attendees networked and discussed how we can move forward to create equal access to Restorative Justice for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Using restorative Justice for faith-based hate crime
On the 25th of November we held an online panel discussion in partnership with the Faith and Belief Forum to discuss whether and how Restorative Justice could be used to tackle the harm caused by faith-based hate crime. We heard the perspectives of Ali Amla from Solutions not sides, Razwana Begum from the University of Singapore and Stephen Silverman from Campaign Against Antisemitism as they discussed it’s potential uses, in particular for Islamophobia and Antisemitism. One key finding that arose from these discussions is that Restorative Justice could be an effective preventative measure to promote empathy and dialogue across different faiths before any harm occurs. By implementing restorative practices in schools, for example, prejudiced beliefs could be tackled and interfaith relations could be strengthened.
Restorative Justice in Cases of Violent Extremism
Our Director Lucy Jaffé is a member of the Working Group on Violent Extremism of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. This Restorative Justice Week she took part in an online webinar, accompanied by Darryn Frost, survivor of the Fishmonger Hall attacks to discuss the use of Restorative Justice for terrorist acts and violent extremism.
In reflecting on the event, Lucy said “Acts of violent extremism affect individuals, communities and society, for whom the institutional responses rarely answer questions or help them to move forward with their lives. The EFRJ Policy Paper on Restorative Justice in cases of Violent Extremism brings together 3 years work involving people from around the world. On Wednesday we were fortunate to hear from Darryn Frost, survivor of the Fishmonger Hall attack in London 2019. His testimony was powerful example of how many questions go unanswered, the anger that remains about institutional responses and the power and potential for restorative acts, such as the apology he received from the Metropolitan Police following the incident.”
Harmed and harmer: how to incorporate trauma-informed and restorative practices when working with young people affected by crime and conflict
Our Development Officer (Youth Justice) Leah Robinson, led a skills workshop in the Restorative Justice Council’s Annual Conference, which explored incorporating trauma-informed and restorative practices when working with young people affected by crime and conflict. The 45 attendees left with theoretical and practical examples as well as tools and techniques to utilise when working with young people who have been both harmed and harmer.
Workshop leader Leah said “It was a pleasure delivering this workshop and engaging in discussions with the attendees. It is so important for professionals working with young people to take restorative and trauma-informed practices into account and I was thrilled to see so much commitment from attendees with regards to this.”
An Economic Evaluation of Restorative Justice post-sentence in England and Wales
At the beginning of Restorative Justice Week, we launched our highly anticipated research into the Economic benefits of Restorative Justice. Health economist Frank Grimsey Jones shared the Economic Evaluation research that he conducted with Why me? at the RJC Conference, alongside Ben Fisk who is currently conducting a PhD on the topic. The research showed that Restorative Justice brings a significant economic benefit, saving £14 for every £1 invested. The report was published alongside a usable model which allows you to enter your own data to see the economic benefit of Restorative Justice in your area.
Restorative Justice: Unpacked
Why me? delivered the final event in our Restorative Justice Week series on the 29th of November. It was a Restorative Justice: Unpacked event which introduced attendees to the core principles of Restorative Justice and gave them the opportunity to hear one of our ambassador’s stories first-hand.
Thank you to everyone who supported us this Restorative Justice Week. We hope that it has been thought provoking and motivated the Restorative Justice community to ensure that everyone affected by crime can access Restorative Justice.