Why I wanted to intern at Why me?
This article was written by Bethan Nicholson, a volunteer intern at Why me?
I started working for Why me? in June as part of a six-week placement. I was attracted to the fact that they were largely victim-focused and had a real urge to improve the current system. It is refreshing to see a group of people who are passionate and want to really make a difference to victims and offenders’ lives, prioritising how reoffending can be resolved rather than concentrating on retribution and punishment. I also liked the idea of the different projects being set up to make more people aware of Restorative Justice as a pathway. One I have taken particular interest in is Why me?’s LGBT+ Hate Crime Project, as LGBT+ Hate Crime is a huge problem. I personally feel Restorative Justice is one of the most effective ways of reintegrating offenders back into society. It ensures the victim has the chance to speak out about their feelings and how they have been harmed, while helping the offender to understand the damage they have caused. I also hold this view because of the statistics that support Restorative Justice: Restorative Justice reduces the frequency of reoffending by 14%.
There are many misconceptions about Restorative Justice, for example the idea of it being an ‘easy way out’ of prison. But in reality Restorative Justice is often the most challenging task both parties have to face. Ultimately, it is about the victim vocalising something that has severely affected them whilst the offender has to listen, accept and hopefully apologise for their actions. I think this is the best way for a victim to move on from their experience of crime.
After only two days here I have already learnt a huge amount that I was unaware of. As a Criminology student at University, my eyes have been opened as to how Restorative Justice can be applied to different circumstances in society. I have listened to and made notes from meetings, been responsible for communications and social media, and have improved my knowledge of how to use analytical websites.
It has made me eager to pursue Restorative Justice as a potential career path for the future.