How taking part in a restorative justice process helped a victim to put the incident behind him, and helped the offenders to take responsibility and make amends for their offence.
The victim, a student called Anthony, was assaulted by a group of youths.
Three of these young people, David, James, and Michael, were given court orders and Anthony decided to participate in a Restorative Justice process, which on this occasion allowed the three offenders the opportunity to apologise to him for their actions.
The face-to-face meeting
David took up the opportunity to meet face to face with Anthony and so, after thorough preparation of everyone involved, they participated in a victim-offender mediation session.
During this session, David showed remorse for his actions and apologised. Anthony accepted his apology and acknowledged the courage that it had taken for David to come to this meeting.
It was a particularly powerful moment when Anthony told David that he respected him for having the courage to come and say sorry face-to-face.
The offender and the victim come from completely different social groups within the same school and through this mediation session they were able to put the offence behind them.
The letter of apology
The second of the three offenders, James, wrote a letter of apology to Anthony for his part in the assault. He explained to Anthony why he had become involved and acknowledged the impact that those actions had on the victim.
Success of long-term work
The other young person, Michael, initially said that he would not apologise to the victim for the offence. He said that Anthony ‘deserved’ what had happened to him as he, Michael, had been told that Anthony had ‘beaten up his mate’.
He saw the offence against Anthony as payback for what he thought he had done and felt justified in assaulting Anthony.
However, with encouragement from his supervisor from Crime Concern, Michael completed a letter to the victim giving an explanation about what had happened.
Then six months into his order, with the support of his mum and grandma along with Crime Concern, he has thought about his behaviour, especially in light of the fact that he has since found out that Anthony, who he thought had assaulted his then best mate, was in fact assaulted by his best mate first.
This has been a very powerful piece of work and a complete turnaround from the expected outcome.
Through the process of Restorative Justice these offenders have taken responsibility for what they have done and allowed the victim to participate in how the offenders have made amends.