Restorative Justice Protocol and Annual Report published

Date published: 21 July 2023

The Department of Justice has published the new Northern Ireland Restorative Justice Protocol and Adult Restorative Justice Strategy Annual Report 2022/23.

The new 2023 Protocol will govern the use of restorative interventions in the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland and details how a new accreditation process will work for organisations and individuals. 

In addition to meeting specific training standards, those seeking accreditation must work to fundamental standards of upholding the rule of law; adhering to human rights standards; and working with all criminal justice agencies, including the PSNI.

The Annual Report sets out progress made against actions contained in the Department’s Adult Restorative Justice Strategy over the first year of its implementation.  It has been developed in partnership with a range of statutory, voluntary and community sector organisations who make up the Restorative Justice Working Group (RJWG), who are responsible for taking the work forward. 

Richard Pengelly CB, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice said: “Today we see the publication of two significant documents for the growth of Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland.  One year on from the creation of a new Adult Restorative Justice Strategy and we are already seeing the progress that has been made.

“One of the key actions was to review and refresh the 2007 Protocol which governs the use of restorative approaches in the criminal justice system.  The new 2023 Protocol delivers that and is key to enabling the increased use of restorative justice as an integral part of our justice system and in the delivery of other actions contained in the Strategy.”

The Department has engaged extensively with RJWG partners to finalise and agree the new protocol document, following the report from the independent review panel that was published earlier this year.

A copy of both the Annual Report and the 2023 Protocol are available  from the publication section of this website.

Notes to editors: 

1. Northern Ireland’s first Adult Restorative Justice Strategy was published in March 2022.  It contained a commitment to publish a report annually over its lifespan, to inform people about progress made in its implementation. 

2. In 2007, a protocol was put in place to govern relations between the NI Criminal Justice System and the community-based restorative justice schemes.  Given the intervening time, a review of the Protocol and its operation was carried out in 2022 by an expert panel, with the aim of increasing appropriate referrals from statutory bodies and expanding the work of restorative practice generally, in line with the aims of the Adult Restorative Justice Strategy.

3. The three-person review panel were Professor Tim Chapman, Dr Neil Jarman and Judith Gillespie.  As part of their report, the Review Panel proposed the appointment of an Interim Protocol Lead to hold responsibility for implementing and promoting the new Protocol and accreditation process.  Work is underway on this appointment.

4. For media enquiries contact the Department of Justice Press Office via Email 

5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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