By Joanna Jones | Posted: Sunday November 20, 2016
November 20-27th marks Restorative Justice Week
Anglican Family Care is celebrating Restorative
Justice Week by recognising the work of our facilitators and raising awareness
of this fascinating service.
After someone is convicted of a crime in an Otago court, they are referred to our Restorative Justice team. Our facilitators then meet with the offender and the victim separately to see if they are interested in attending a Restorative Justice conference. If both are interested, then the conference goes ahead. Each has a support person with them, and there are two facilitators who arrange and guide the meeting. The meeting offers both the victims and perpetrator of a crime a chance to discuss what happened and how they have been impacted. It also offers the offender a chance to apologise and to put things right. The crimes can be as minor as vandalism or shoplifting or as devastating as a fatal car crash.
Our facilitators say that some of their meetings can be very moving and many of the victims feel a sense of closure after meeting their offender face to face and explaining how the offence impacted them.
One victim described the meeting as "quite an experience". They said "I went with a certain view of the person and came away feeling a bit tearful and with quite a different view of the issues”
The meetings are also beneficial for offenders and the wider community with statistics showing there was 26% fewer re-offences by those who participated in Restorative Justice.
“My experience from Restorative Justice showed me that good people could respect me, and I could share my feelings, and know that there is help. I feel thankful for that help.” said an offender.
Anglican Family Care has been running its Restorative Justice Programme since 2001 and received 648 referrals last year. Director Nicola Taylor says "It is amazing to see the results of Restorative Justice in the community. Our facilitators are very passionate about what they do and it really helps victims gain confidence and peace of mind because their story has been heard."
Keep an eye out on our Facebook page where we will be posting regularly throughout Restorative Justice Week. facebook.com/anglicanfamilycare