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

A high proportion of adults with learning disabilities and autism are victims of hate crime but very few report and, of those, 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’. 

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.

What we will we do: 


  • Train frontline staff working with LDA clients about Restorative Justice 
  • Train Why me? team in learning disability awareness 
  • Deliver restorative cases (or interventions) to people with learning disabilities and develop a referral pipeline with Barnet Mencap 
  • Develop Easy Read documents about Restorative Justice
  • Disseminate findings to practitioners and policy-makers 
  • Publicly promote the work 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 communicate good practice on how to best support them through the process.

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. 

Why are we doing this?


Restorative Justice can really benefit those with LDA as Carole Dukes, Lead Engagement Co-ordinator at Barnet Mencap, explains here: 

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’s first hand testimony about how Restorative Justice impacted her. 


If you are interested in finding out more about our project, then please contact Mark Smith at 


This work is funded by Bally Thomas Charitable Fund and the Allen & Overy Foundation.


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