This piece struck me as interesting because it specifically discusses the possibility of using restorative justice to resolve juvenile hate crimes. It even quotes a youth who specifically says he would have liked to have talked with the offender to get questions answered and to correct misinformation. Are criminal justice systems truly listening to the voices and needs of victims?
On Monday, celebrity chef, Tony Singh was in Leith - one of the most culturally diverse areas of the capital - to support the juvenile hate crime scheme that aims to stamp out crimes motivated by prejudice against race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and transgender people.
The scheme uses Restorative Justice Meetings where offenders meet their victim in a safe, structured and neutral environment where the young person will explain why they did what they did and listen to their victim tell them how it impacted their life and what they can do to repair the damage.
A report by the Home Office indicates that 80% of offenders would be less likely to offend after restorative justice meetings, 90% of victims receive an appology and 78% of victims would recommend the process.
Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allan said: “I’m delighted that we’re launching this innovative scheme that will give victims an alternative in their search for a sense of justice.
"This puts power back in the hands of the victims of hate crime. We know that hate crimes in all forms are caustic for families and communities.
River Song, 17, is gay and two years ago he was attacked and his nose broken because of his sexuality. He now volunteers for the National Youth Council for the charity Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Scotland.
He said: “I was told not to have contact with this person. Nothing was done about it.
“I think it would have helped if I could have talked to him, I don’t know why he did it. I don’t know if it was because of the area we lived in or because he didn’t know much about being gay.
“I would have liked the opportunity to explain."