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Glasgow City Council

Restorative Justice for Footie Fan Jay

Published February 12, 2016




Jay Beatty

The father of football 'superfan', Jay Beatty, has met a teenager who was arrested after threatening his son via social media.

Martin Beatty came face-to-face with the Glasgow teen who sent him private Facebook messages targeting 11-year-old Jay who has Downs Syndrome.

Police Scotland were contacted after Mr Beatty was copied into Facebook conversations containing derogatory comments about Jay's disability and threats to his safety.

Officers went on to arrest a teenager in connection with the Hate Crime and he was referred to the Children's Reporter who recommended an Early Effective Intervention programme.

The boy's case was handled by a multi-agency team including Glasgow City Council's Social Work department, Glasgow Life, Police Scotland and Community Safety Glasgow.

Staff at Community Safety Glasgow worked with the teenager to ensure he took full responsibility for his actions, understood the possible consequences and appreciated the alarm and distress his behaviour caused Jay's family. The boy was also taught about appropriate use of social media and that targeting someone due to their disability is a Hate Crime.

After undertaking the programme he expressed remorse and wanted to apologise to the Beatty family.

Mr Beatty was initially sceptical about the Restorative Justice meeting but agreed to take part.

He said: "I think it did help. I got everything I wanted to say off my chest and told him how we felt. We couldn't understand why someone would do that to a wee boy who doesn't have a bad bone in his body. At times it was emotional, but it helped me get closure and I think he took what I said on board."

Luckily Jay was oblivious to the drama going on around him. Jay briefly entered the room at the end of the teenager's meeting with his father. Seeing the youngster in person had a profound effect on the older boy.

Mr Beatty said: "When he saw Jay - and how tiny he is, it was very powerful. He was emotional. I think it really hit home then, what he had done and that Jay was just a wee boy who loves football and had done nothing wrong. Now I have closure. I've forgiven him and put it behind us. At the end of the meeting I shook his hand and wished him all the best and hoped that he would go on and do something constructive with his life."

The teenager has apologised to Mr Beatty and promised never to do anything similar again. He offered to do something to try to make up for the hurt he has caused, but Jay's father only wanted an assurance that he'd seen the error of his ways and wouldn't reoffend.

After the meeting, the teenager said: "I listened to everything that was said, I won't ever do anything like that again."

Bailie Fariha Thomas, Chair of Community Safety Glasgow which runs Glasgow's Restorative Justice service said: "Restorative Justice can be exceptionally effective in bringing the consequences of crime home to perpetrators. Meeting their victims can help offenders understand the impact their actions have on those they target and the wider community.

"Meetings such as these can help give power back to victims and enable both sides to meet and talk in a safe environment. It is an opportunity for offenders to take responsibility for what they have done and to try to make amends. It can also be a powerful tool in preventing reoffending."

Celtic fan Jay has been pictured on TV and newspapers after being hailed a "superfan" for his devotion to former striker George Samaras. Jay has also won the Scottish Premiership's Goal of the Month Award.

Hate Crimes and Restorative Justice

A Hate Crime is one where the victim is targeted because of their race, religion or sexual orientation or because they have a disability or are transgender.

Find out more about Restorative Justice at


Published February 12, 2016




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