167. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration will be given to the establishment of a pilot project of restorative justice in certain cases of sexual violence; and if not, the reason therefor. [12600/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Probation Service plays a key role in the delivery of restorative justice practice as part of its overall mission of reducing reoffending and further victimisation in our communities.
In the latter half of 2015, at the request of the then Minister for Justice and Equality, a small two year pilot programme was established by the Probation Service, to respond to any requests for victim offender mediation from victims of sexual crime. This discrete service was managed under the auspices of the Victim Services Team in the Probation Service. A number of staff, located across all regions, have received specific training in victim offender mediation and sexual trauma.
Between January 2016 and January 2018, four requests were received and all were followed up in a timely and sensitive manner and in accordance with the protocols in place. The pilot demonstrated that some victims of sexual crime wish to consider the option of a restorative intervention.
The Probation Service established a dedicated Restorative Justice and Victim Services Unit with a national remit in September 2018. This Unit continues to respond to all requests from victims for restorative justice, including those involving sexual offences. During 2018, two further requests from victims of sexual crime were facilitated.