Are you interested in using Restorative Practices? Contact us to find out how we can help you.
What is Restorative Practice?
If you’ve been the victim of a crime or experienced conflict or anti-social behaviour the thought of meeting the person responsible might be a daunting prospect. For many people however, talking about what happened and how they were made to feel, helps them to move on from the experience.
This process is called Restorative Practice and it can be used in everything from neighbour disputes to serious crimes. Evidence shows that 85% of those harmed who decide to go through the process, come away feeling satisfied. The process can also lead to a reduction in re-offending.
How does it work?
A Restorative Practice professional will talk to you about the impact and consequences of what happened, and what could be done to make things better for you. They will ask you if you would like to communicate with or meet the person who is responsible for causing the harm.
After this, the person who has committed the crime or anti-social behaviour also has the chance to talk to the Restorative Practice professional. This involves talking about the harm caused and what could be done to make amends. They are also asked if they want to communicate with or meet you.
If both parties say yes, then you will be given the opportunity to communicate with each other about what happened, potentially in a face to face meeting. The Restorative professional will manage and organise this for you.
The meeting is called a Restorative Conference. It is voluntary and only takes place if everyone agrees to it. It is held at a neutral location at a time which is convenient to you and is led by a professional facilitator. You may be able to bring along someone to support you, or bring others who have been affected such as relatives, friends or other people.
What’s in it for me?
A Restorative process can give you a chance to communicate with those responsible for causing harm and talk about what happened. This might include:
- Telling them your thoughts about what happened and how they made you feel;
- explaining the impact on you and others e.g. friends, family and wider community;
- asking questions you have about what they did and why;
- agreeing how they might make amends for their actions – such as writing a letter of explanation; paying for damage caused; or doing voluntary work in the community.
For many people Restorative Practice can help them to get closure after a traumatic time. People who have participated have reported that it has been an empowering experience that allowed them to feel more in control of what happened to them.
What’s in it for them?
Restorative Practice helps offenders (or those who have caused the harm) and in some cases can lead to a reduced likelihood of them re-offending in the future. The process helps them by:
- enabling them to understand the impact their actions have had on others;a
- allowing them to accept responsibility for their actions;
- giving them a chance to apologise;
- allow them to deal with any feelings of guilt and remorse in a positive environment and in a way which may help them change their future behaviour;
- discuss with you how they could make amends;
- offering a way to reintegrate back into the society that was hurt by their behaviour.
When can Restorative Practice be used?
Restorative Practice is available to all victims of crime, anti-social behaviour and other community conflict across Northamptonshire, and can be used for many different types of incidents and only at a time that best suits the needs/wishes of the person harmed.
If a meeting with the person who caused you harm is not appropriate, the Restorative Practice professional may be able to coordinate an alternative restorative intervention such as a letter of explanation or other means of communication.
For any kind of communication to take place, the offender or person responsible for causing the harm must take responsibility for their actions and all relevant parties must be willing to engage with the process.