Case Studies

RJS4C Ireland

About case studies

In 2020, following requests by our Stakeholder Group, RJS4C Ireland started collecting case studies of restorative justice and restorative practices in the Irish criminal justice system.

These cases cover a wide range of processes, contexts and offences, and also illustrate the benefits Irish organsations have found when using restorative practices internally.

We are grateful to the Department of Justice for funding this work, and to all our colleagues who contributed cases.

Since publishing our strategy, stakeholders have confirmed the need to publish real-life examples of restorative justice and restorative practices that illustrate their applications in different criminal justice contexts. In 2020, we launched an open call to stakeholders to submit cases.

The restorative justice case studies published below illustrate its use with a range of offence types, delivered by different providers (NGOs, the Probation Service and An Garda Síochána) and at different points in the criminal justice process. Cases are anonymised and organised by service provider. Each case study explains the offence and the type of restorative process used, and tells the story of what happened before, during and after the process. Below these, you can also find case studies of the wider use of restorative practices in the criminal justice context.

We supported the drafting process through editing and anonymisation, but have not verified the facts as outlined, so these cases represent the recollection, perspectives and perceptions of authors. We believe that they were written in good faith and are indicative of the type of restorative work that takes place in Ireland. They are also not intended as illustrations of best practice, nor does their appearance on this website mean that we necessarily endorse the facilitation practice in each case.

The call for contributions to this project is open-ended. If you or your colleagues have delivered restorative justice or used restorative practices in the criminal justice context (broadly defined) in Ireland, please get in touch. This page will be updated regularly as new cases are received.

Use of restorative justice by NGOs

For over thirty years, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been at the forefront of restorative justice service provision in Ireland.

Today, a number of NGOs deliver restorative justice in response to a wide range of offences, either within the criminal justice process in some counties, or when appropriate to do so as part of their wider work with citizens.

The models used include victim-offender mediation, family conferences, restorative conferences, offender reparation panels and victim empathy work.

You can find out more about the NGOs that deliver restorative justice services and the different models of practice they use by exploring their organisational profiles and our mapping summaries on our service map page.

Use of restorative justice by Probation Service 

The Probation Service is one of the primary State providers of restorative justice services in Ireland. Trained facilitators, supported by the Restorative Justice and Victim Services Unit, can deliver a range of restorative justice models with both young people and adults, and operating both pre- and post-sentence. The models used include restorative conferences, family conferences and victim-offender mediation.

You can find out more about the use of restorative justice by the Probation Service by visiting our service map page.

Use of restorative justice by An Garda Síochána

Through the Garda Youth Diversion Programme, Juvenile Liaison Officers have delivered a significant proportion of the restorative conferences and other restorative processes in the Irish criminal justice system in the last two decades.

You can find out more about the use of restorative justice by An Garda Síochána by visiting our service map page.

Restorative practices in criminal justice

Across Ireland, State and non-State actors operating in the criminal justice arena have adopted restorative principles and practices in their work. This includes the day-to-day use of restorative language and relational approaches to practice, as well as their informal and formal use of restorative circle processes to help build relationships, consult colleagues and citizens, structure challenging conversations and respond to conflict. These case studies illustrate just some of the innovative and progressive work taking place in Ireland.