Access to Justice: Delivering Restorative Justice for learning disability and autism (LDA) hate crime 

Aims

This project looks at how Restorative Justice can be used to address the harm caused by learning disability hate crime. Building on our previous and existing hate crime projects, we can see the potential benefits of Restorative Justice not only when there has been a criminal offence but also where people have experienced discrimination or mistreatment of any kind.

We want to make sure that Restorative Justice is more widely available and accessible to those with LDA. We are working in partnership with Barnet Mencap and Lambeth Disability Hate Crime Partnership. Through these partnerships we hope to learn best practice for delivering Restorative Justice for those with LDA.  This will involve creating accessible materials that clearly communicate what Restorative Justice is, how the process works and the benefits it can offer. 

What are we doing? 

  • Training frontline staff working with LDA clients about Restorative Justice. 
  • Training the Why me? team in learning disability awareness.
  • Delivering restorative cases (or interventions) to people with learning disabilities and developing a referral pipeline with Barnet Mencap.
  • Developing Easy Read documents about Restorative Justice.
  • Disseminating findings to practitioners and policy-makers.
  • Publicly promoting the work we have done through case studies and videos.
  • At the end of the project, we will share our findings with practitioners, partners and policy makers, to help raise awareness about the benefits of Restorative Justice for people with LDA, as well as communicating good practice on how to best support them through the process.
  • We have formed a partnership with Middlesex University and their Film and TV students. They have been working with actors from the Learning Disability Community to produce four short films that explore how Restorative Justice may be used to help those who have Learning Disabilities. These films form part of this project and will be showcased during Hate Crime week 2021.

Why are we doing this?

  • A high proportion of adults with learning disabilities and autism are victims of hate crime, but very few report and, of those that do, under 2% are prosecuted.
  • From bullying and being called names to more serious crimes such as criminal damage, robbery and assault, many people with learning disabilities are targeted because they are ‘different’.
  • Ann-Marie Pearson experienced learning disability hate crime when she was repeatedly bullied on her bus journey home. She complained to the bus driver, but was not listened to.  Restorative Justice allowed her to speak out about what happened and have her voice heard. Read Ann-Maries’ first hand testimony about how Restorative Justice impacted her. 
  • Restorative Justice can really benefit those with LDA as Carole Dukes, Lead Engagement Co-ordinator at Barnet Mencap, explains here: 

Court settings are very alien places for most of us… but for a person with either of these disorders, they are even more challenging.

Carole Dukes, Barnet Mencap

As part of this project we are building a bank of case studies to demonstrate good practice for working restoratively in these circumstances. Have you worked restoratively with people with LDA? Would you be willing to share your experiences with Why me?? Whilst hate crime is our particular focus, we would also like to hear about how restorative services tailor their work to ensure that people with LDA can participate in Restorative Justice when they have been affected by any type of crime or harm.

If you are interested in finding out more about our project, or have a case study you would be willing to share, then please contact Mark Smith at mark.smith@why-me.org

 

This work is funded by Allen & Overy Foundation and the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund. Twitter: @AllenOvery

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