Restorative Justice offers victims the opportunity to have their harm or loss acknowledged by the offender and in turn encourages offenders to acknowledge the impact of what they have done and can give them an opportunity to make reparation.
Restorative Justice Process
- Restorative Justice has been practised in Guernsey for a number of years. It is a voluntary process and not an alternative to the Court process.
- If you have been affected by crime, you may be left with questions and feelings that will not easily go away.
- You may want to know:
- Why did this happen to me?
- Was I targeted?
- Does the person responsible realise the harm they have caused?
- It is going to happen again?
- What sort of person would do this?
- Are they sorry?
- What does their family think of this behaviour?
- Restorative Justice can provide you with:
- An opportunity to ask questions which have been bothering you.
- The possibility of receiving an apology, some reparation or agreed recompense.
- It can help you to achieve greater peace of mind.
- The Restorative Justice Officer can provide you with impartial advice and information about the process. If you decide to take part, it is important that you know that:
- Your participation will be voluntary at all times.
- Your well-being and safety are a priority.
- Confidentiality will be respected at all times.
- You will be thoroughly prepared and supported before, during and after any meeting you take part in.
- Meetings are always carried out in a safe environment and facilitated by a trained independent person. You may bring along a Victim Support volunteer, a friend or family member to any meeting for support.
Restorative Justice Methods
- Victim/Offender Mediation:
- This process provides an opportunity for victims and offenders to engage in a process of communication with each other. Such mediation may take place face-to-face with a neutral facilitator or could be an indirect process where the facilitator acts as an intermediary. In both cases the aim is to allow those involved to come to some agreement with or without a direct meeting.
- Scripted Restorative Conference:
- Such conferences focus upon the offence, the impact of that action on others, and what can be done to repair the harm that was caused. These conferences are run according to a script of pre-determined questions by trained facilitators. Again, these facilitators act as intermediates and are not involved to determine the outcome of the conference.
- Community Conferencing
- Where a wide group of people have been affected by an incident or situation a community conference can be utilised to embark on addressing problems of anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood disputes. Participants might include victims, offenders, supporters, residents and professional agencies.
- Family Group Conferencing
- In this case trained and experienced facilitators will arrange a meeting that brings together a young person, immediate family or carers, relevant professionals and any supporters. All are given an opportunity to give an account of the particular incident that has occurred, along with their feelings and views. Time is then given to formulating a plan to bring about reparation to the victim that will also reflect the concerns and opinions of the professionals involved.
Restorative Justice Strategy
- Consideration and exploration of Restorative Justice remains a compulsory element of the sentence planning process. The Manager of the Offender Management Unit continues to audit sentence planning documents to ensure that due consideration has been given to potential cases where restorative interventions may be appropriate. All Offender Management Unit staff consider ways to develop the use of restorative language and approaches in the everyday running of the Prison. The also work to develop a consistent practice with disputes involving officers, prisoners, or both.
- The Island's Restorative Justice Development Officer continues to advise and provide new material for the Prison Psychotherapist and Offender Management Unit Officers who facilitate the Choices and Challenges course using Restorative Justice principles. This is proving to be a constructive way of introducing Restorative Justice to the prisoners and could possibly lead to Victim and Offender Restorative Justice conferences taking place.
- Restorative Justice places the victim at the centre of any harmful event and works to resolve conflict and repair that harm. It encourages those who have caused harm to acknowledge the impact of what they have done and gives them an opportunity to make reparation. It offers those who have suffered harm the opportunity to have their harm or loss acknowledged and amends made.
- Restorative Justice has been practised in Guernsey for a number of years, mainly as part of the Youth Cautioning Scheme. It has been used in the community and in the Prison with adult offenders (after they have been sentenced by a Court) and victims, sometimes involving very serious offences. Additionally restorative justice has been used in schools to deal with conflict between pupils.