Working With Another Agency
Our Advanced Practitioner for Sensitive and Complex Cases, Tammi was contacted by a criminal justice provider to meet with one of their service participants.
This person wished to meet with an individual they have harmed to apologise, as this person wasn’t able to at the time the harm was caused, due to being unwell emotionally.
Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership had previously provided restorative conferencing and practitioner training to the professional making this referral. This means they were able to co work with us and to increase their experience by observing our practitioner in the lead. This supports the continued professional development of people we train who come with the requisite knowledge and experience. It also ensures safety for service participants as we can monitor and observe and demonstrate best practice. This co working practice is a key part of our co-operative and restorative values as a company and it often leads to referral routes.
Wale Restorative Approaches Partnership staff and the referring agency met to discuss the case, talk through any surrounding issues and hand over a current risk assessment.
Our staff and the referrer then carried out a joint initial assessment with the person who wished to engage with the restorative process. This enabled her to describe what happened from her point of view and the reasons why she was unable to apologise. She felt unable to apologise at the time she caused harm as she had a lot of ongoing health concerns and as this case was going through the criminal justice system, was advised by her solicitor not to talk to the harmed person or admit any guilt.
The participant told the our Practitioner that she felt ‘racked with guilt by what happened’, she said ‘I became obsessed with trying to think of ways to apologise, I even thought about tracking the person down via Facebook just to say how sorry I am’.
At this meeting between the practitioner and service participant, our Practitioner talked about what a restorative approach is, explained the guiding principles to which we adhere (restoration, volunteerism, neutrality, safety, accessibility, respect) and what menu of services we can offer (1 – 1 meeting with the people affected by what happened, shuttle mediation, written correspondence).
Our Practitioner and their newly trained co-worker talked through the restorative questions and what the next steps would be. It was agreed that our Practitioner would meet again with the service participant to prepare her for a face to face restorative meeting if the other party agreed and the co-worker would make contact with the other party.
Due to the level of unmet needs of this service participant, a support package through the referral agency was put in place after this meeting such as 1 -1 counselling, G.P referral and support with benefits. It was agreed at this time due to the levels of additional help and support needed for this individual that a face to face meeting would not be suitable but she would like to send a letter of apology through the Probation Service, using the restorative questions as a guide, to explain from her unique perceptive what happened and how she wanted to apologise for the harm she had caused. The service participant felt it important to share with the person she had harmed that, due to this incident she had addressed her substance misuse, taken on board that what she did was her fault alone and that she wished to make sure that she doesn’t cause harm to another person in the future.