Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice can be defined as

'the process of independent, facilitated contact, which supports constructive dialogue between the Person Harmed and Person Responsible (whether this be an adult, a child, a young person or a representative of a corporate or other body) arising from an offence or alleged offence.' Adapted from ‘Guidance for the Delivery of Restorative Justice in Scotland’, Scottish Government, 2017.


It gives the People Harmed the chance to meet, or communicate with, the Person Responsible, to explain the impact their actions has had on their lives. This has the potential to help those harmed by giving them a voice within a safe and supportive setting and giving them a sense of closure.

It also provides those who have harmed with an opportunity to consider the impact of their crime and take responsibility for it, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of re-offending. In some circumstances it can also allow them the opportunity to make amends for the harm caused. It can also be appropriate and helpful for children and young people who have harmed, where the need to safeguard and protect their interests is paramount.

How does Restorative Justice work in practice?

In our first meeting with you we will explain the Restorative Justice process and answer any questions you may have. There is no obligation for you to take part - it is an entirely voluntary process. After this meeting, you can go away and think about it and it is up to you if you wish to proceed. If you decide to do so, we will go through what we call the Facts, Consequences, Future questions, which are:

Facts – what happened?
Consequences – who has been affected by what happened? How have you been affected?
Future – what would you like to happen now to enable you to move on safely?

If you choose to meet with the other party involved, we will get in touch with them and invite them to meet with Space2face on their own. We will then go through the same questions with the other party. Only if both of you decide you would like to meet, and we consider it safe for you to do so, would we facilitate a joint meeting. This can be done in a range of different kinds of meetings from a face-to-face conversation with the Person Responsible, with an official mediator or facilitator present, or indirectly through a mediator. If you decide not to meet, there are other ways we can facilitate indirect communication between you.

Restorative Justice is a process led by the participants and at their pace – our role is to facilitate this safely for both parties. As part of the above process, in Space2face we also sometimes use the arts and the making of things (there is no skill or prior knowledge required), but again, it’s your choice.

How does Space2face use Restorative Justice?

Space2face is a Restorative Justice Arts charity and a confidential and independent service. We are a unique project in the UK as we use the arts, the making and gifting of things, within Restorative Justice processes. You don't have to be creative or arty to use our service! We've just learned that through making, talking about difficult things is sometimes easier.

What kind of crimes/situations can Space2face help with?

Restorative Justice can potentially be used for any type of crime and it can help the People Harmed whatever the seriousness of the offence/harm. No-one knows the impact of even a seemingly minor crime, only the person involved, who may explain they have been affected hugely. There are certain offences which can pose particular challenges for the restorative process, for example sexual offences, hate crime and domestic violence. However, with specialist trained facilitators Restorative Justice can still support those harmed through sexual and domestic violence. Clair and Alyson have received specialist training to work with these types of offences.

In cases of sexual harm and domestic violence, the Restorative Process must be led and initiated by the Person Harmed and not by the Person Responsible. As in all Restorative Justice work, but especially with sensitive and complex cases such as hate crime, domestic and sexual violence, there is no requirement for people to meet face to face. Other types of indirect communication can be facilitated, discussed and agreed with participants.

 

If you would like more information on how Restorative Justice can help in these situations, please click here.

Why would I take part?

In cases where a crime has been committed, the Person Harmed can often feel that the criminal justice system does not give them a chance to get involved in the case they were initially at the heart of. Restorative Justice puts the Person Harmed at the centre of the process – giving them a chance to ask the Person Responsible any questions they have whilst helping them to speak about the impact of the situation on them.

The Person Responsible often feels a need to ‘make things’ right, to apologize for and learn from their actions, this process can enable them to move forward having done what they can to try to make things better.

 

Restorative Justice is proven to reduce repeat offending as the Person Responsible can now clearly see the impact of their actions.

Can I stop the process once I've started?

Yes. Restorative Justice is entirely voluntary. You can pull out at any time, including on the day of a meeting. You can even ask to stop or take time out while the meeting is going on. The facilitator will support you from Day One and try to make sure that there will be no surprises as you go through the process. Whether you go through with it is entirely up to you.

I've been harmed and am interested in working with Space2face to start to recover from the situation? Do I need to be referred by someone or can I just get in touch directly?

You can get in touch with Space2face directly yourself or an agency or friend can refer you to us. More and more people are choosing to make an initial approach themselves to have a chat about what we do and how they might become involved. Our contact details are here so please do get in touch if you would like to know more or start the process.

Can I hear from someone who has been through this process?

Space2face Shetland take their clients privacy very seriously and do not share the details of other people's experiences without explicit consent from everyone involved. Space2face Shetland is a registered data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and are GDPR compliant.

However, you can read some case studies of how Restorative Justice has helped people outwith Shetland here.

Can Restorative Practices be used in other situations - for example schools and workplaces?

Yes, Restorative Practices can be really helpful in a wide range of situations such as schools, family, work places, with the underlying values in place: respect, honesty, non-judgmentalism, acceptance.

For example, Restorative Practices are recommended by the Scottish Government and Shetland Islands Council as an appropriate way to tackle bullying behaviour in schools. There are also restorative schools and restorative communities, which are based on the restorative values above and commit to approaching conflict using restorative ways of working.

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