Mediation and Restorative Justice Following Hate Crimes

What is a hate crime?

Hate crime is any action or rhetoric—hitting, spitting, graffiti or hate speech, for example—that targets someone because of their religion, faith or beliefs; race, ethnicity or nationality; disability; or sexual orientation or gender identity.

Why mediation?

While courts pit perpetrator and victim against one another, mediation brings both parties together in an empathetic environment where both sides can be heard, and hopefully, the perpetrator can obtain a better feel for why their actions are harmful not just to their victim, but also to themselves. The focus here is on the rehabilitation of the perpetrator, rather than punishment, in order to help them see the error of their ways and to prevent future incidents.

Even agreeing to mediation is a step in the right direction, because it requires communication. Rather than enhancing potential animosity or aggression, the mediation process emphasizes the parties’ shared humanity. Bringing them together on the same level allows both parties to work toward the same end: reconciliation and justice.

Further, court cases can be costly, attract press attention, and may be drawn out over several years. Mediation reduces cost, keeps the process private and streamlines the experience, allowing both parties to focus on restorative justice instead of a labyrinthine legal system.

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