A young person who has worked with the Restorative Justice Service has given his view below of a Restorative Justice Conference.
How did you feel about doing the RJ conference?
I wanted to do it but I was very nervous not knowing who I would be meeting and what the victim would be like. The whole idea of doing the conference made me nervous but I felt better once Fiona spoke to me about the victim and what he thought about the offence. I knew that I wouldn’t be put in a situation where I wouldn’t be able to cope.
What helped you to complete the RJ conference?
It took time for the conference to go ahead because of my shifts but this time helped me prepare. I had a lot of sessions discussing the conference and what it would be like, talking about it really helped. I think finding the right place to do it helped and I think that doing it somewhere else would have made the conference different. I felt better knowing that the victim would be more relaxed doing it at his own house, so I was happy to do it there. I never felt I didn’t want to do the conference but I was worried that I couldn’t do it because of my nerves. I wanted to put the victim’s mind at rest.
How do you feel on the morning before the conference?
I was feeling ok, YOS picked me up and we had time to speak about it, it helped me having the support beforehand, it made it easier.
How did you feel during the conference?
Once I was in there I was more comfortable, we had a cup of tea and that helped relax me. Telling my story was the most nervous part and I was having to think about what I was saying. I did try to talk about the offence again for the victim but he didn’t want to go into it again and I liked that he said we had moved on. I enjoyed listening to the victims stories about himself and it felt good knowing that he felt comfortable enough to talk about these.
Was there anything that surprised you?
Yes, I was surprised that he was so nice about it, I expected to get a lecture off him and I didn’t get that. I was surprised at how well it went and how peaceful and relaxed it was. None of it was difficult. It was really good to know that I had put the victim’s mind at rest. I have done many stupid things but to get to say sorry to one person makes me feel a lot better about myself.
What did you get out of the conference?
Knowing that the victim was now fine about what I had done and he had moved on, he even said to come and say hello if we ever saw each other. He said he was shocked to meet someone like me because and he was happy that I was now doing good things. I feel like he’s now got some peace.
How do you feel about it now?
It feels crap carrying around what I did but now I’ve done it, I don’t think about it and I have moved on. I now feel good; it’s definitely something I would recommend.