Restorative justice is a powerful tool that puts those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward. Catch22 deliver a number of services that offer restorative justice, and our teams see the incredible impact the restorative process can have on people every day.
For Restorative Justice Week, we asked some of our practitioners to share their most memorable moments.
Here, we hear from Grace Wroe, Restorative Justice Lead at our Victim First Service in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland:
“In June of this year there was an exciting moment in the office. A case had been referred that involved two people who worked together, one of whom had assaulted the other at work. We’d already discussed a number of times with the Victim First case worker who was supporting the victim, because she felt that restorative justice would be ideal in this situation. But up until now this had always been a distant possibility, our Caseworker has promoted restorative justice a number of times with the victim, but she was never receptive. However at an opportune moment our caseworker reminded her about the restorative process, and eight months into receiving emotional support, she agreed to meet with the team to hear more.
“My colleague and I met with the victim on a number of occasions and then with her consent, reached out to the harmer via the police. She admitted responsibility and acknowledged that things were awkward in the office, she agreed to meet face to face.
“There were lots of complexities to this case as the victim’s confidence had been massively impacted by the assault, her daily life was full of anxiety and her doctor was out of suggestions of what might help. She therefore felt she had nothing to lose in meeting, although she was understandably extremely nervous.
“During the meeting there was an incredible moment when the harmer, initially a bit distant and unresponsive, broke down in tears and apologized unreservedly, citing her own issues as the cause of the assault and acknowledging it was wrong. Both women left together, smiling and chatting, with a clear outcome agreement of how to deal with issues in the future. It really showed the power of restorative interventions.
“A few weeks later when we sought feedback from the victim, she said that this process had helped her more than anything else, more than any medication. I was so delighted to hear that she was sleeping easier, enjoying her days more and was no longer anxious about going into work.”