School of Social and Political Science

New toolkit to support restorative justice services in Scotland

Sub head

Researchers have created a toolkit to provide support for people involved with restorative justice in Scotland, facilitating safe communication between a person responsible for a criminal offence and the person they have harmed.


The toolkit is the result of extensive collaborative research and knowledge exchange work from Dr Steve Kirkwood at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science. It is free to download and use. 

Dr Kirkwood said: “The toolkit should be a really helpful resource for those who are intending to design and develop restorative justice services in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government has committed to make restorative justice services widely available by 2023, and this toolkit should help this to become a reality. The expansive of restorative justice services has the potential to improve people’s experiences of justice.”

It contains advice, questions, checklists and templates to help people who are responsible for developing restorative justice services, such as those based in the voluntary sector or local authority social work services, to think through the potential need for restorative justice in their local areas. It offers advice on how such services might be structured and operate, how risk assessments might be undertaken, and how data may be collected from participants, stored and analysed. 

Download the toolkit

The toolkit is available to download here:

Restorative Justice in Scotland – SPS

Download the toolkit (PDF).

The page also includes a number of document templates and examples, which may be useful to restorative justice providers who are developing their services.

Restorative Justice Week

The launch comes during Restorative Justice Week, 15 - 22 November 2020. This annual event is an opportunity to focus public attention on restorative justice, to the benefits it can create for the society, and to bring together communities globally and locally that are committed to address injustices and harm in a humane way.

Restorative Justice Week

A collaborative research project

The development of the toolkit has been a collaborative effort between Dr Steve Kirkwood and Rania Hamad of the University of Edinburgh and Professor Joanna Shapland of the University of Sheffield, who is also Chair of the Restorative Justice Forum (Scotland).

The project focused on understanding the nature and effects of using restorative justice in Scotland, analysing service data from restorative justice services in Scotland and engaging with professionals working in the criminal justice sector.

Other contributors include:

  • Catherine Bisset and Ella Edginton (Scottish Government Justice Analytical Services)
  • Gael Cochrane and Sarah Mccullough (Community Justice Scotland); the City of Edinburgh Council
  • Clair Aldington (Space2face)
  • Pamela Morrison (Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice)
  • Attendees of the Workshop on Implementing Restorative Justice held on 29 November 2019, facilitated by Dr Ian Marder and Clair Aldington

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about this toolkit, please contact Dr Steve Kirkwood: