The year in review: 2023 at Why me?

Published: Friday, December 15th, 2023

This is a blog by our Communications and Events Coordinator, Keeva Baxter. 


2023 at Why me?Why me? and the wider restorative sector have had a very successful year of raising awareness, campaigning and supporting people affected by crime. 

This year has been challenging for the charity sector, with the cost of living crisis and a changing fundraising landscape. We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, from our team of volunteers, trustees and ambassadors who generously give their time to promote access to Restorative Justice to our engaged and passionate audience. 

Lots of progress has been made this year around Restorative Justice. This blog explores some of our highlights, achievements and updates as the year comes to a close. 


Why me? have held a variety of exciting events over the past year, some highlights were:

  • Economic Evaluation of Restorative Justice report launch event attracting 120 key criminal justice academics, practitioners and professionals from across the world. 
  • Two intimate and powerful events focusing on sexual and domestic violence. We held one in person and another online, both sparking conversation between the restorative sector and domestic and sexual violence support services. At both events we had a panel of our lived-experience Ambassadors, sharing their stories and the challenges and benefits of using Restorative Justice for these cases. If you’re interested in seeing the recording of the event, contact us at

“I could not feel that people cared. Restorative Justice shifted that for me” – Why me? Ambassador

  • Our bi-monthly Restorative Justice forums have continued to be well attended, providing information on the latest developments in RJ and to share experience and insights on casework. We covered topics from strategic communications to proving the value of your restorative work. 
  • Most recently, we held a series of events in Restorative Justice Week, including two ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions. The first was on the power of deep listening, where we explored shame and how listening can be transformative even without offering solutions. The second was a conversation with Liz Opoku of the Youth Justice Board about how Restorative Justice will feature in their new strategy and the impact of their new Key Performance Indicator measuring RJ provision.  


Restorative Talks Podcast series

In July 2023, Why me? recorded the first three episodes of our ‘Restorative Talks’ podcast series. The podcasts spread the word about Restorative Justice on a new platform, sharing information with a new audience, and giving a voice to people who have been through the restorative process. All episodes of Restorative Talks are available on Spotify and all other major streaming platforms. 


Effectively communicating Restorative Justice 

Restorative Justice is challenging to explain because it is so different to the way the world usually frames crime and conflict, but it is transformative and life-changing for those who take part. We commissioned reframing research by specialists, Equally Ours, who explored why criminal justice professionals aren’t referring the people they work with to Restorative Justice services and how we can adapt our messaging to better capture the hearts and minds of those who are hesitant. Based on these findings, we created a guide on ‘How to communicate Restorative Justice effectively’, which will be launched early next year.

Domestic and Sexual Violence

Speaking directly to domestic and sexual violence services that do and do not refer, as well as people who have been through a restorative process after surviving these crimes has been critical in our work in this area. We have hosted events, created blog posts and made connections with domestic and sexual violence support services. We look forward to continuing this work next year, delivering training to support services and producing an information pack on the use of Restorative Justice in these cases. 

Project Articulate for people with English as an additional language

Our Articulate project, which aims to widen access to Restorative Justice for people who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL), came to an end this year. We highlighted one of the most under-represented groups amongst RJ services users, and raised many questions about the provision of inclusive Restorative Justice. We have created partnerships with community organisations, establishing pathways for them to direct the people they work with to restorative services. The project culminated in a Good Practice Guide which supports practitioners who want to be proactive in promoting RJ services to EAL speakers. 

Response to LGBTQ+ hate crime

We continued work on our project on using Restorative Justice to address the harm caused by LGBTQ+ hate crime and incidents committed in London. We worked with Wandsworth and Richmond Boroughs at different levels, including providing training to professionals from different sectors. We had an ongoing partnership with Free2B, collaborating on a fact sheet for schools which was distributed in Wandsworth schools to support staff in managing homophobic incidents.

Restorative Justice for children and young people

Restorative Justice for Young Adults in Prison and on Probation

Young adults between 18 and 25 are overrepresented in the Criminal Justice System and have particular needs which are often overlooked. We looked at the lessons we can learn from Youth Justice Services across England and Wales, who regularly use Restorative Justice effectively, and how we can apply those to the older age group. 

This year we have published two reports, following our three years of research with local Youth Justice Services. The first was a report co-authored by academic, Dr. Rebecca Banwell-Moore, ‘Understanding barriers to Restorative Justice for young people, young adults and victims of crime’.  We recently published a second good practice guide on ‘Restorative Justice for Young Adults in Prison and on Probation’.  

We are delighted that the Youth Justice Board (YJB) adopted a 10th Key Performance Indicator on victims and Restorative Justice, on which we collaborated with Pete Wallis from Oxfordshire YJS, making Restorative Justice more visible and counted. We also contributed to the development of the YJB race disparity protocol. 

Putting victims first: Restorative Justice for Retail Crime

Following on from our expert input into the new Out of Court Disposal framework, The Home Office funded a ground-breaking, victim-centred restorative retail project in Torquay alongside Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the local restorative service, Make Amends. 

The most recent Retail Crime Survey, published in May 2022, identifies increasingly high levels of violence and abuse towards retail workers, but with only 4% resulting in prosecution. Following local engagement, posters, meetings with Police and retailers, a Torquay town centre Neighbourhood Officer was designated to act as the local Restorative Justice Champion. We also recorded two extraordinary video testimonies from retailers. We continue this work into 2024. 

Policy and research

Why me? has continued to actively engage and influence the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Restorative Justice (APPG). As a full member of the Advisory Board, our Director, Lucy Jaffe, has chaired the External Policy Engagement sub-group. We have drafted briefings to accompany proposed amendments to the Victims and Prisoners’ Bill including the right to be referred to Restorative Justice. Determined to ensure that all victims of crime get their rights under the Victim Code of Practice, Why me? has campaigned at national level with the APPG to ensure that there are ‘no blanket bans’ on specific crime types. 

Our work has contributed to a statement being made by then Minister for Victims, Edward Argar, in 2023 that Government policy is that there is no blanket ban on the use of Restorative Justice in specific crime types.


Mel Giedroyc at the BBC recording studioWhy me? broadcast a BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal in July 2023, which reached an audience of 1.8 million listeners. Patron, Mel Giedroyc, presented our appeal, attracting generous donations and an influential platform to communicate the power of Restorative Justice to a huge national audience. 


Why me? at the Chris Donovan Awards

The Why me? staff team have worked closely with our ambassadors this year, supporting them to speak at events, engage with the press, record podcasts and network with policymakers. Two new case studies have also been added to our website, with interviewees sharing stories of their experience of crime and the Restorative Justice process. 

Why me? staff have put 100% into making all the work happen. We have said goodbye to a few key people in 2023, including Mark Smith, Meka Beresford, Silvi Naskinova, Leah Robinson, Sula Blankenberg and Lucy Harris. They have made such a difference to what we do and have moved on to other roles and remain friends of the charity. The core team of Kate, Keeva and Lucy have kept the show on the road and are looking forward to welcoming new faces in 2024.

We will be sharing our plans for 2024 in early January, including new members of the team, exciting projects and our visions for Restorative Justice. Thank you all for your ongoing support this year, we look forward to working with you in 2024!

© 2024 Why me? Charity no. 1137123. Company no. 6992709.