Access to Justice: Delivering Restorative Justice for hate crime

People affected by hate crime are not getting access to Restorative Justice. That needs to change. Those targeted by hate should be able to make an informed choice about their recovery, and decide for themselves if Restorative Justice is appropriate for them.

This three year project focussed on how to increase access to Restorative Justice in hate crime cases. We worked in partnership with three police areas: Lancashire, Cambridgeshire and Avon & Somerset, aiming to increase the use of Restorative Justice for hate crime, and to understand the barriers which are preventing this from happening more widely.

We have published two papers about our findings:

Making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime in your police area gives recommendations to restorative providers, police, victim staff and Police and Crime Commissioners about how to increase the use of Restorative Justice for hate crime in their police area.

Making Restorative Justice happen for hate crime across the country gives recommendations to national policy makers – including the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service – about how to ensure that victims of hate across England and Wales are offered Restorative Justice.

While many victims of hate crime are never offered Restorative Justice, there are cases of good practice in police forces across the country. The work of Restorative Cleveland is one example.

We also held an online seminar on Restorative Justice and hate crime, where experienced facilitators and hate crime experts shared their insights about how to handle hate crime cases restoratively. If you would like a copy of the recording, please email us on info@why-me.org. 

Why hate crime?

Hate crime is on the rise. Over 103,000 hate crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales in 2018/19, a 10% increase on the previous year. Hate crime victims also feel more traumatized by the incident, and are less likely to be satisfied with police handling of their case than victims of other crimes.

Restorative Justice has the potential to break down barriers between victims of hate crime and perpetrators, and could have a significant benefit to both parties. Despite this, those affected by hate are less likely to be given the option of Restorative Justice than victims of other crimes. 

What did we achieve?

All of the areas which we worked in partnership with saw improvements in their use of Restorative Justice to address hate crime following our joint working. The project led to findings being published in two papers, which were circulated to restorative services around the country. We worked with a number of restorative providers following our targeted partnerships, and helped them to implement our advice. We also held three national events to share our findings, all of which received positive feedback, and have been working with policy makers to improve the use of Restorative Justice for hate crime nationally.

Progress is still needed to ensure that people affected by hate can make their own decisions about accessing a restorative process. We hope that our findings and the work of many others who feel passionately about this issue helps to make this goal a reality. 

Victims of hate crime want to be listened to and taken seriously. Restorative Justice empowers them to have their voices heard, express the impact of the crime, and move forward with their lives. It also gives them the opportunity to educate the perpetrator and combat prejudice. Restorative Justice is already having a positive impact in many hate crime cases. We hope that this project will help all victims of hate crime to have the option of Restorative Justice.

Lucy Jaffé, Director of Why me?

The leaflet below gives more information about Why me?’s work on Restorative Justice and hate crime. Please let us know if you would like a hard copy.

Get in touch

If you are interested in developing your work on Restorative Justice and hate crime, get in touch with Ben Andrew on ben.andrew@why-me.org.

If you are a victim of hate crime who is interested in Restorative Justice, contact Mark Smith on mark.smith@why-me.org

This work was funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust

© 2021 Why me? Charity no. 1137123. Company no. 6992709.