How restorative justice has helped other victims locally…
Some of the victims who have participated in Restorative Approaches in County Durham and Darlington felt empowered to share their story, to help others gain the confidence to consider Restorative Justice for themselves.
Case study 1:
80 year old woman endures repeated abuse from drunken resident, Darlington
We received a referral regarding an 80 year old lady in a sheltered accommodation scheme. For a long time she felt fearful and intimidated by the behaviour of a 75 year old resident, who was regularly rude and abusive toward her while under the influence of alcohol. The situation peaked when one day he lashed out to try and hit her. Our facilitators arranged for the two to meet in a safe environment in order to communicate and reach an understanding.
Case study 2:
Female runner assaulted by male moped driver, Darlington
Tracy used to suffer from depression. She had had problems within her family, especially with her sister. She found that running was a great stress reliever, and lifted her depression, enabling her to maintain better relationships.
At the time of the incident which led to our involvement, she was working as a bus driver and used to run home after parking up her bus at the end of her shift, a distance of around 3 miles.
One day as she was running past the entrance to a supermarket car park, she was involved in an altercation with the driver of a moped, who thought she should have stopped and given way to him. Shaken by the exchange, she walked across the road into a coffee shop where she knew a friend of hers worked. Without realising it, the moped driver had followed her across the road, and then proceeded to assault her by hitting her hard in the face. He then sped away before she had time to take down his number plate.
Case study 3:
Multiple assault victim turns Restorative Hub volunteer
In the space of less than a month the Restorative Hub received two referrals following assault, each with a different perpetrator, but with the same victim. Both assaults were committed by young men under the influence of alcohol. The victim bore no grudge and said he had been young himself and understood that some people can become aggressive when they drink too much.
Case study 4:
Knifepoint robber jailed for 5 years for targeting lone woman on unlit path
Joanne Bainbridge met her attacker after he changed his plea to guilty some 10 months after the offence took place. Joanne’s life was turned upside down after she was robbed for her handbag as she walked to work in the early hours of the morning. She found the courage to hold her attacker to account when she met him in prison as he was serving remand, awaiting sentence. Joanne found that the RJ opportunity helped her to regain control of what happened to her and have her voice heard in Court.
Case study 5:
Burglary victim was one of the first victims to meet his offender as part of the pre-sentence opportunity
The victim explained that at the time the offence took place, the couple were in the process of moving houses. He described it as an ‘exciting time’ because they were keen to move from the area and start a new life together. He said that on the day of the offence, he went to the property to move the last few items to his new address and was shocked to discover that the house had been broken into. The whole experience left him and his partner feeling ‘frightened’ and ‘annoyed’.
Case study 6:
A pensioner robbed at knifepoint in her own home told her attacker “I will no longer be your victim” when she met him in prison, before he was sentenced
A 66 year old woman who was robbed at knifepoint as she returned home having completed a volunteer shift, met with her attacker in prison as part of the pre-sentence opportunity. She found the meeting a positive experience and was grateful for the opportunity to speak to her attacker to ask him certain questions which were playing on her mind. Following the prison meeting, she was able to stand up in Court at the sentence hearing and read out her own Victim Personal Statement. Although she accepted his apology, she told him ‘sorry isn’t enough’ and hopes he uses his 10 year prison sentence to equip himself to make the right choices in future upon his release..
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.