When his son was robbed, Rob was given the chance to meet the young person responsible to explain the impact of his actions.
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Why me? would like to thank Wandsworth Youth Offending Team for their support to publish Rob’s story.
When Rob received a telephone call relaying that his son had been subject to a sustained attack by three youths in his local town, culminating in a street robbery, he wanted what he describes as “immediate karma” on the perpetrators.
After one of the attackers was convicted and sentenced to a six month referral order, Rob and his son were offered the opportunity to meet the young person. Although his son declined, this gave Rob a platform within a controlled environment to discuss the impact the crime had, not only on his son, but also himself and his family. The first attempt at a restorative meeting was not successful, but Rob pushed for it to be held nearer to where the attacker attended the youth offending team to increase the chance of the meeting taking place. Just over a year after the attack, the meeting took place.
A Restorative Justice meeting can take place between the offender and the victim’s family who may also be affected by what happened. All parties must be willing and agree to participate in the process which is managed by trained facilitators.
Restorative justice is about seeking answers. It is a step in the recovery process. It can be a chance to explain to offenders the impact of their actions.
Rob explains in his own words what happened at the meeting:
“After the attack, my son was clearly shaken and upset. I on the other hand was left with anger and no direction in which to channel it. I attended court but the process allowed no voice for the victim. Taking part in the Restorative Justice meeting was a chance to open up a conversation, in which both my son’s attacker and I could both listen and equally be heard.
“I anticipated that he would not answer the majority of my questions but he did listen to what I had to say about his senseless choice of actions on the evening he attacked my son.”
“I was also able to understand the young person’s background. Whilst not excusing his behaviour that night, I did find myself having a certain amount of empathy and consideration for his circumstances which I was not expecting.”
“At the end of the meeting I looked him in the eye, shook his hand and wished him all the best in his future. I hoped that with the benefit of him taking part in Restorative Justice from an offender’s perspective, he would think carefully about his future choices.”
“When I left the meeting, it felt like a weight had been lifted from me that I didn’t even realise I was carrying. I felt like my anger from the time of the attack had subsided but what I had unwittingly done was suppress it. Now finally after this meeting all the unwanted negativity I had held was finally and permanently gone.”