Case study 7: Parents of vulnerable victims have their voices heard after the care worker stole thousands from vulnerable people with severe learning disabilities
Elderly parents participated in a Restorative Justice intervention on behalf of their sons after they felt completely betrayed by the former Care Home Manager with whom they had developed a trusting relationship. The parents opted to have indirect communication with the offender rather than a full face to face meeting in which they were able to ask questions of the offender and explain how the betrayal had affected their lives.
The families wanted to know why it happened and what the money had been used for. They also wanted to know why the offender had changed their plea to guilty after denying the involvement for several months, prolonging the case and the closure they longed for.
The parents described the offender’s behaviour as ‘systematic scheming’ and refused to accept the explanations and reasons which the offender provided were behind her actions. However, both families felt satisfied to have participated in this pre-sentence opportunity and were really pleased to have had their voices heard.
The offender was pleased to have had the opportunity to explain to the families and to apologise to the families for what she did.
The families were satisfied to have been offered this opportunity and described feeling ‘more involved and more equipped’ to move forward.
One parent said “I felt as though I was brought forward and included as an important part of the case as it’s possible for the victim to feel unnoticed and ignored. A victim can feel frustrated that their point of view isn’t being heard and I would advise others to take part in the restorative justice opportunity – it has certainly helped me”.
The offender was sentenced to 21 months in custody.