Credit: Camila Cavalcante
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What Does Justice Mean To You?
This workbook was made as part of the Justice Beyond Criminal Justice (JBCJ) group project at Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre.
The JBCJ participants had all engaged with criminal justice processes following their experiences of sexual violence. They came together to consider what justice means to them, beyond what the criminal justice system has to offer.
“We all had different ideas and different opinions of how the system should change. We all had different experiences and outcomes so it gives us a more varied view of exactly where the system is lacking. That was different. It made you feel like you had a purpose. It made me feel like a strength because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through so I’m going to voice my opinion, be heard and change things. I want to make a change that way. If my experience can change how they (the CJ process) deal with people then great! I’ve done my bit.“
The participants were between the ages of 18 and 65 and had a wide variety of experiences in life and in their justice journeys. There was agreement and disagreement, but what mattered to all the members of the group was that survivors’ experiences of seeking justice must change. They wanted other survivors to have better experiences than they’d had.
All of the participants described feeling silenced and isolated by the criminal justice process. They felt unable to share their experiences and unsure of how to access the experiences of other survivor witnesses. Meeting the other participants gave them the opportunity to hear and support each other. We created this workbook so that you too might benefit from the experience and care of other survivors, so that you too might feel less alone.
“We co-created the space that I wanted, that I want to see in the world. All the things I’ve said here, about how I want to live and what I hope for, we created that within the group for that hour. We were kind to each other, we were non-threatening, we supported each other, we created a safe space where we could be ourselves. When I say love, that’s what I mean. We created love for each other, for ourselves, a loving space.”
• What does justice mean to you?
• How could that become a reality?
• What support do you need to make that happen?