Restorative justice for victims of serious crime will be debated at a ground-breaking conference hosted by the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ).
The event – organised in partnership with community justice organisation Sacro – will examine restorative justice encounters, which bring together victims and offenders in an effort to repair harm. Even in the aftermath of serious crime, evidence shows this approach has the potential to make a positive impact on those involved.
Scottish restorative justice practice commonly targets less serious criminal cases. The CYCJ-hosted ‘Restorative Practice in the aftermath of serious crime’ conference on February 10 will seek to open up debate and discussion among practitioners about both the opportunities and risks associated with using restorative justice practice as an approach to serious crime.
Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of Sacro, said: “Restorative justice has much to offer Scotland’s criminal justice system, both by repairing the harm caused by crime to individuals and communities and by reducing the risk of further reoffending.
“We are currently involved in piloting the use of restorative justice in crimes that have caused serious harm to a victim, as a means of addressing some of that harm. Sacro believes the provision of restorative justice can lead to better justice, give victims an active role, heal harm and increase public confidence in the justice processes within Scotland.
“Sacro is delighted to be associated with this conference where we will share our experiences and further develop restorative practice as a recognised positive contribution to reducing the harm caused by offending.”
CYCJ Director Claire Lightowler said: “This is an excellent opportunity to explore restorative justice practices in the context of serious crime. When delivered professionally, evidence suggests that in certain situations these approaches have the potential to have a positive effect on victims and perpetrators of crime, and on the wider communities in which they live. In exploring restorative justice and serious crime, we hope to progress thinking about how restorative justice can contribute to making Scotland a safer place.”
Keynote speakers at the conference will include Lawrence W. Sherman, Wolfson Professor and Director of the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, and winner of the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts. He will be joined by experts and practitioners from across the UK, including Sacro Chief Executive Tom Halpin and Vincent Mercer of the Youth Justice Board AIM project, who will share their experiences and give workshops.