Restorative Approaches in the Community
Restorative approaches (RA) within the community are all about making people’s quality of life better. RA within the community can be for any instance where there is conflict and the parties involved are willing to participate.
It could be for a disagreement over parking, neighbour disputes over hedges and trees, ASB issues or perhaps even instances where low level crimes have been committed. In all these instances the outcome remains the same. For relationships in the community to be repaired where possible and for a positive outcomes where everyone involved can move forward.
Talking about what happened and understanding how I’d effected other people’s lives with my actions had a profound effect on me. I regret my actions whole heartedly…Offender
When victims are involved in a restorative process, they have the opportunity to reclaim some of the power taken away from them by the act of harm. The harm they have suffered is acknowledged and validated and they are empowered to challenge and confront the other parties behaviour, soliciting an apology and reparation. Effective restorative approaches are participant-led, safe and supportive and can lead to a greater sense of justice and closure and in some cased improved health.
Taking the video example on this page you can see that a Restorative Approach was the correct way of moving on from what happened. All parties involved were much more satisfied with the outcome and importantly the relationships within the community were repaired if not improved!
I dread to think what it would have cost if the mediation had failed…Mediation participant
Community mediation can take two forms. Face-to-face and shuttle. Face to face mediation is where all parties involved sit together in a carefully managed meeting. The mediator/s will let each person speak about:
- What has happened
- How it made you feel
- Who has been effected
- What needs to happen to move forward
Shuttle mediation is similar in terms of the process above but is conducted in the form of exchanging letters or statements read out by mediators to each party. This type of mediation happens when a person feels they can’t meet with the other person/persons involved in the incident or if a participant is considered unsuitable for a face-to-face meeting.