This case study was originally published by the West Midlands RJ Hub.
The victim said:
I’m going to start from after the incident(s):
After I was notified about what had happened I was mortified, concerned, stressed and angry because of the thought that my son was capable of what he had done and at myself for having a responsibility of his upbringing.
My son was remorseful for what he had done, I could see that and how he explained that he had lashed out made me feel somewhat better?
The stress set in for the consequences of his actions, for him and also for me… Meetings with the school, the embarrassment and shame that my child had done this, which greatly increased when I was notified a complaint about the incident had been filed with the police.
In the first instance the Thought of prison, court, and what was going to happen to my son and now the rest of his life. I was contacted by the restorative justice officer and he explained how the victim’s mother did not want my son to receive a criminal record and that we could resolve the matter with restorative justice, this was all explained to me and how it would work,
I didn’t see any other option than to proceed and hope the outcome would be a good one for all involved. The meeting was arranged and anxiety had set in…. is the victim’s mother going to shout at me? Shout at my son? Be angry? Snarl at me across the table? I didn’t know what to expect and had scenarios running through my head.
The day came for the meeting and feeling quite anxious and stressed at the time, I know now I didn’t need to. I sat in the School reception and a lady sat just across from me, the victim’s mother. Dave and his colleague arrived and also a teacher, Dave made me feel at ease and was totally impartial and treated myself and the victim’s mother the same and equally, this put me at ease.
We filled out our agreement about how we would behave and headed into the room joined by my son and the victim. Dave (the police facilitator) headed the meeting and it flowed extremely well. I feel that Dave had prepared me, my son and the victim and her mother beforehand with advice which I feel made it much easier for all of us which was very important.
There was no shouting… no angriness or insults just a room of people accepting what had happened and how best to move forward to prevent anything like it happening again, to seek help and support from the school and other services but mainly for my son to speak in front of everyone and truly be remorseful for what had happened and to sincerely apologise to all involved, I was proud……. not to be in the position we were, but for the chance to see my son be honest and truthful.
The alternative option of prosecution didn’t bare thinking about it would have wrecked my sons life before it had started, leading into a downward spiral.
My son is still facing consequences for his actions, loss of friends, isolation but that’s ok it’s about him being given to chance to face up to what he had done and given a chance to show sincere remorse for his actions from which he will continue to learn from.
I have great gratitude that Restorative Justice is an option available in situations like this, more can be learnt this way as an alternative to prosecution. I would like to thank Dave for the continued support and guidance throughout this process and that he continues to help young people in these situations.