Examples of RJ cases in Sussex

Have you ever wondered what sort of circumstances Restorative Justice (RJ) is used for? We've included some information about some cases where RJ has been used in Sussex during 2020-21 below.

The only direct RJ cases that have taken place since March 2020 have been held virtually or in COVID Secure environments following the guidance in place at the time.

They have only taken place as part of a ”live police investigation” with RJ being the formal police disposal option as agreed by the victim, offender and the officer in the case.

May 2020 - Homophobic ABH

Community resolution

Following an assault on school grounds which the victim did not want to pursue formal prosecution for five individual WhatsApp meetings took place with the offenders. The offenders had their parents present.

The victim had been through the RJ question set & the harm/impact was relayed via the facilitators – the 2nd half of the RJ session was an educational input touching on Hate Crime Legislation and the wider impact of hate crime on communities.

June 2020 - Racially aggravated common assault

Community resolution

A Taxi driver had drink thrown over him and racial comments made towards him by the offender but they did not wish to support a prosecution.

The meeting was held over WhatsApp with an appropriate adult present due to some vulnerabilities. The victim had previously been through the RJ question set & the harm/impact of the incident was relayed via the facilitators.

The second half of the session was an educational input touching on Hate Crime Legislation and the wider impact of hate crime on communities.

September 2020 - Malicious communications (homophobic)

Community resolution

This case was in response to some homophobic messages which had been received via group chat. The RJ intervention took place on WhtsApp with the offender's parent present.

The victim had already been through the RJ question set so the harm/impact was shared by the facilitators.

The second half of the session was an educational part touching on Hate Crime Legislation and the wider impact of hate crime on communities. 

October 2020 - Criminal damage, common assault & malicious communication

Criminal damage (conditional caution), face to face conference

This meeting took place face to face in a COVID compliant environment. 

A local resident admitted to scratching a car in anger; this particular car had been damaged a number of times prior.

Through the conference it was established that there was an ongoing issue of parking in the area which was causing frustration to both participants – both had particular needs that required close parking access to their homes. The offender agreed to pay towards the damages. 

The local Neighbourhood Policing Team were also made aware of the ongoing frustrations of local residents so a more robust approach could be taken to road offences in the neighbourhood, in the hope it would help elevate some of the issue and tension. 

Common assault/battery (homophobic). Community resolution (indirect) The Victim in this case had vulnerabilities and an ongoing link with the offender, therefore the victim had not wished to pursue a prosecution.

The offender discussed coping mechanisms to prevent further incidents occurring and understood the comments made in anger were wrong. The victim had already been through the RJ question set so the harm/impact was shared by the facilitators.

The second half of the session was an educational part touching on Hate Crime Legislation and the wider impact of hate crime on communities. 

Malicious communication (racist), school related incident. Face to face conference

A racist WhatApp group chat was seen by a parent and reported to school. The school consequently reported it to police. A face to face conference was held at the school (COVID compliant environment) with the parents knowledge.

Both participants had made racist comments within the group chat so the second half of the session was an educational part touching on Hate Crime Legislation and the wider impact of hate crime on communities, and a brief history of derogatory terms. 

February 2021 - Shoplifting

Community resolution, indirect.

This session was held over Microsoft Teams. During the session we were able to explore the impact and harm on the store staff, which was heightened by a previous shoplifting where an offender had produced a knife,

It also explored the larger impact on the manager and effect on the local community. The Harmer was directed to local support services and foodbanks as they were stealing food to feed their family

March 2021 - Road related offence, actual bodily harm (ABH) and common assault and battery

Road related offence. Community resolution, indirect letter exchange

The community resolution in this case took place between the driver of a car that hit a 8 year old girl who was cycling and suffered minor injuries.

The driver and the mother of the child exchanged letters regarding the harm/impact of the incident and at the request of the mother (with the aim at reassuring the child that the accident was not her fault) the driver agreed to pay £30 towards a new helmet.

ABH. Community resolution (direct)

Following an attack on school grounds a meeting took place face to face on Microsoft Teams. With the support of their parents both participants were brought together to discuss the harm and the impact, including the wider harm on the school and the families of those involved. Both individuals attend the same school and there have been no further incidents so far. 

Racially aggravated common assault and battery. Community resolution both direct and face to face

The incident occurred at the children’s care home where the victim worked, she has worked with the male involved for a number of years so was reluctant to support a prosecution. She was, however, keen for him to understand the harm and the impact of his language and his behaviour.

A very successful face to face meeting took place between the two and the male apologised for his actions and expressed regret for them. The victim was also able to talk about the wider deeper impact on hate crime and its effect not just on individuals but also the impact on communities.