Access to Justice: Delivering Restorative Justice for Learning Disability and Autism (LDA) hate crime 


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 that it can offer. 

What did we do? 

  • Trained frontline staff working with LDA clients about Restorative Justice. 
  • Trained the Why me? team in learning disability awareness.
  • Delivered restorative cases (or interventions) to people with learning disabilities and developing a referral pipeline with Barnet Mencap.
  • Developed Easy Read documents about Restorative Justice.
  • Disseminated findings to practitioners and policy-makers.
  • Publicly promoted the work we have done through case studies and videos.
  • As the project came to an end, we shared 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 (below) formed part of this project and were showcased during Hate Crime week 2021.

The four films below won a Learning on Screen Award 2022 in the category of Promotional Film Award. Congratulations to Middlesex University for their win!

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. 

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

If you would like to share how you use Restorative Justice for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism, or are interested in finding out more about our project please contact Mark Smith at


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

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© 2023 Why me? Charity no. 1137123. Company no. 6992709.