Restorative Justice Mediation

Hasan SadikMediation

Restorative Justice Mediation

Lesser known forms of mediation are proving to be increasingly successful in all manner of civil and criminal arenas; restorative justice mediation being one of those.

Restorative justice mediation – much like all forms of mediation – is based on the belief that the people directly involved in a conflict or a problem are best placed to resolve it. This is supported by the theory that imposed solutions are less effective, less informative and often less adhered to.

Restorative Justice In The Criminal Justice System

Restorative justice mediation can work cohesively as a remedial method of reparation in support of the criminal justice system, complementing or supplementing it as required. There are two areas of the criminal justice system which have had great success using this method – youth offenders and hate crime .

A hate crime is defined as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice” based on one of five categories: religion, faith or belief; race, ethnicity or nationality; sexual orientation; disability; or gender identity”.

With over 80,000 hate crime offences being recorded in 2016/17, how can this type of mediation help?

How Restorative Justice Works

Restorative justice brings the victim of a crime together with their offender and then, through very carefully managed mediation sessions facilitated by specially trained practitioners, will see the offender take responsibility for their actions and find an outcome that will attempt to put right what has been wronged, bringing closure to the matter for all involved.

Available to every victim of crime, restorative justice mediation can be offered at any point during the legal process, including after court sentencing. For the mediation to proceed, the mediator will ensure that:

  • all parties are psychologically capable of making the mediation a constructive experience
  • the victim will not be further harmed by the meeting with the offender
  • both understand that their participation is required

Benefits Of Restorative Justice Mediation

Much like the general benefits of mediation, there are several ways that the process can benefit all of the participants, even the offender. These include:

  • The victim being empowered by having their say.
  • The victim being able to move past the event and enjoy their lives.
  • The offenders understanding the gravity of their actions, taking ownership for them and making amends.

How Hate Crime Can Be Reduced By Restorative Justice Mediation

Research has shown that 85% of victims who participated in this type of mediation felt it was a positive experience, particularly in cases relating to hate crime. The perpetual media reporting of this type of crime in the UK indicates a concerning increase. Mediation could play a crucial role in reducing this type of crime going forward. By bringing humanity to hate crime and the offender face to face with victim, mediation challenges offenders, helps the perpetrator understand the impact of their actions, and potentially reduces the likelihood of repeat offending.