Restorative justice is a way of thinking about how to approach conflicts and violations of law, and allows for reparation of the harm caused by conflict. It is based on resolution processes in which all the parties concerned are actively involved. Restorative justice aims to heal the parties and create a safe community. The process is managed by a neutral mediator.

Mediation can be applied to a wide range of conflicts, from minor offences to serious crimes. Restorative justice helps to reduce the emotional and material harm caused by an act, to make the perpetrator responsible for the victim, to increase the satisfaction of the parties involved, and to reduce the likelihood of new conflicts.

The restorative justice service can be accessed on your own or by referral. In the first case, the person can send an email to taastavoigus@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee or register themselves here. In other cases, the referrer could be a police officer, a school teacher, a youth worker, a local government employee, a prosecutor, etc.

  • The school environment (for example, conflicts between pupils themselves, teacher and pupil, and teacher and parent);
  • the working environment;
  • the family (conflicts between parent and child, grandparents, family);
  • the community (quarrels/disputes between neighbours, etc.).
  • Restorative justice can also be used to proactively discuss how people feel in certain situations, what agreements to make together, why and how to respect certain restrictions, etc.

    The restorative justice meeting will discuss:

  • What happened?

    Why use restorative justice?
  • Restorative justice has a greater impact when it is applied as widely as possible – the more people are familiar with the principles of restorative justice and know how to apply them in their lives, the safer the community will be.
  • Restorative justice contributes to recovery from victimisation.
  • Restorative justice helps offenders learn to function in society again.
  • Restorative justice reduces repeat offences.

    What are the prerequisites for the implementation of restorative justice?
  • All parties participate on a voluntary basis.
  • The person who committed the incident admits to their actions.
  • The security of all parties is guaranteed.
  • Where necessary, support people (support workers) are involved.
  • At the end of the joint meeting, an agreement is reached that satisfies everyone on how to make amends.
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  • What were people’s thoughts and feelings at the time of the incident?
  • What have their thoughts been since the incident?
  • How did the incident affect you and others?
  • How to make amends? What will it take to move forward and prevent a repeat of the incident?
  • Mediation

 

This method is used in the event of a conflict or a situation where many people are affected by the incident. The circle is sometimes organised proactively to discuss the implications of the situation and to allow the parties to express their thoughts and feelings.

 

A person can go to conflict resolution themselves, but they can also be referred by a specialist dealing with the case, such as a child protection worker, police officer, prosecutor, support worker, etc. The referrer will explain to the parties what mediation involves and ask for consent. They will then fill in a referral form and a consent form, which is forwarded to the Social Insurance Board.

Meetings between the different parties are conducted by two mediators. The mediators will contact the parties, arranging a time for a meeting. They will then meet all the parties separately. They will talk about what happened, the thoughts and feelings it provoked, and how it affected the parties involved. They will also look to the future – what is needed to make amends and prevent a similar act in the future. A joint meeting will then be arranged to discuss the same issues. The agreement will also be sent to the referrer with brief feedback.

More parties will be involved, such as the people who have been affected by the incident, but also those who can contribute to resolving the incident or preventing it from happening again.

Preventive circle

Usually a conflict between two people, the resolution of which involves a third neutral person.

Restorative consultation

Taastav õigus
CRIMINAL LAW RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
Which law was broken? What happened?
Who broke the law? Who is at fault? Who was affected?
What is the punishment? What is needed to move on?

 

In criminal law, the state is taking away the wrongdoing from the parties involved – the victim has no chance to ask questions or say what they need to make amends. Restorative justice gives the affected person a voice, a chance to share their thoughts, feelings and needs, and to ask questions about what happened.

Also find out from the video how to utilise restorative justice, or read more in the brochure ‘Conflict mediation based on the principle of restorative justice’.