Restorative justice services receive new funding, expand, publish figures – Autumn 2023 update
16th October 2023

Autumn 2023 update – Restorative justice services receive new funding, expand, publish figures

Restorative justice receives funding in budget

As the Irish Times reports, part of the additional Probation Service funding will be dedicated to restorative justice. This is great news and hopefully implies increases to service capacity beyond the August commitment to a new RJ worker for Galway (announcement here, my analysis here). Thanks to the Irish Penal Reform Trust for including restorative justice in its pre-budget advocacy.

Restorative justice on RTÉ

Janet O’Brien has spoken publicly about her recent experience of restorative justice after her son was killed. On RTÉ, she was joined by Rachel Lillis from the Probation Service’s Restorative Justice and Victim Services Unit. It’s a fantastic, eye-opening interview. Listen back here and please share this online and with colleagues, family and friends to illustrate the importance of making restorative justice available in serious crime.

An Garda Síochána publish 2021 restorative caution figures

The Garda Youth Diversion Programme 2021 annual report states that there were 416 restorative cautions in 2021. It reports that this is down from 716 in 2020 and attributes this drop to JLO retirements (p.11). We can therefore update our 2021 national case estimates to 811 cases referred nationally that year (down from 1056 in 2020). The report recommends (p.20) to continue mediation and restorative training for JLOs, noting that six JLOs received ‘train the trainer’ to enable this.

Le Chéile Restorative Justice Project extended to Cork

In its 2022 Annual Report, Le Chéile says that its Restorative Justice Project in Clare and Limerick has now expanded to Cork, at the request of the Probation Service. It also reports new figures: 22 young people engaged in its RJ service in 2022.

Revising the EU Victims’ Rights Directive

This summer, the European Commission published proposed revisions to the Victims’ Rights Directive. Although these disappointingly did not include the strengthening of restorative justice, there remains plenty of time to advocate for this. You may be interested in published feedback to the proposals from the European Forum for Restorative Justice and Victim Support Europe (RJ on pp. 20-21).

Other materials of possible interest

  • Registration has opened for Le Chéíle’s RJ Week event Stories of Restoration,in Limerick on Friday 24th November.
  • Restorative justice is cited in the final report (p.71) of the Department of Justice Working Group to Examine the Disregard of Convictions for Certain Qualifying Offences Related to Consensual Sexual Activity between Men. Respondents to a public consultation used the language of restorative justice to repair the harm caused by past criminalisation and respond to ongoing challenges for the LGBTQI+ community today.
  • Ian Marder will present at the Northern Policing Research Webinar series in December on restorative policing in Ireland – you can register here.
  • A new play in the UK explores restorative justice in a case of manslaughter, based on Jacob Dunne’s excellent book Right From Wrong. The play will take place in Nottingham in May.
  • The European Forum for Restorative Justice has issued a call for presentation proposals for its next conference in Estonia – check it out here.
  • In August, an independent report titled “A Restorative Response to the Abuse of Children Perpetrated by Joseph Marmion SJ” was published by facilitators Barbara Walshe and Catherine O’Connell. See more here.