We are not currently recruiting for RJ volunteers. Please check again another time. Thanks for your interest. In the meantime, you might like to read the piece below on how we set about finding and training our initial group of volunteers. Below that we have pieces written by two of our recently recruited RJ facilitators, Peter O'Callaghan and Cordelia Rowlatt.
PCC Angus Macpherson with some of our RJ volunteers during a break in their training
Our volunteers are at the heart of what we do
Inger Lowater, Restorative Justice Coordinator
We recognise that for each person who takes part in restorative justice their experience and needs are unique to them. They have experienced harm in some way, either by someone causing harm to them or by them causing harm to others. Many will feel vulnerable or be struggling with feelings of guilt and fear.
When we meet with them to discuss RJ and see if this is something which may help them, we appreciate that we need to be sensitive and understanding at all times. This is why we put a lot of effort into making sure that those who are offering RJ are well qualified and that the RJ we offer is of the highest quality.
In May 2016 we advertised for people who were non-judgemental, fair minded and with excellent listening skills. We asked people who wanted to make a positive contribution to their society to get in touch with us regarding an exciting opportunity to volunteer as a restorative justice facilitator. The response was amazing, and we have now recruited 30 volunteers.
Our volunteers are at the heart of what we do. They are very dedicated to restorative principles, they come from a variety of backgrounds with skills and knowledge across a wide range, and they want to create safer better communities through their work.
All the volunteers have now gone through a rigorous three day training getting them ready to facilitate restorative justice meetings. The newly trained facilitators are paired up with more experienced facilitators and continue to learn as they work with people who want to take part in restorative justice.
Those who take part in RJ will work with the same two facilitators throughout the whole process. This creates a safe environment to work things out in, and ensures the facilitators really know the people they are working with and their experiences and needs.
I am Peter O’Callaghan, I am Irish born and moved to London in 1968. I then worked there for 43 years and retired to Devizes in 2010. I have two children and I am happily married.
I choose to volunteer for Wiltshire Police as I have always been interested in the potential benefit of restorative justice. I heard about the opportunity through a friend and I was fully convinced by presentations at the police headquarters in June 2016.
I was encouraged to give up my free time to volunteer for Restorative Together as I have a great interest in the subject. Also my work and life experience have provided me with the basic skills appropriate for this voluntary work.
I have lots of skills to bring to the organisation. These include: good listening, empathy, compassion, patience and years of experience of working with and for people from differing backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups etc.
On the training course there was an impressive group of fellow students who added enormously to the stimulation of the learning process.
With these skills and the great deal I learned over the three-day training course, going forward what motivates me to do this role is the potential to impact beneficially in the lives of other people who have suffered harm or have experienced a very challenging life.
My name is Cordelia Rowlatt and I live just over the border in Frome. I run a market garden and campsite with my husband. I have four kids, three of them are grown up and one is still at home. I found out about the opportunity to train as a restorative justice facilitator through a friend. The application process was fairly straightforward, although the vetting form is quite long and detailed.
I have been interested in conflict resolution for a long time and want to learn more about it. Volunteering seems to be a good way to do this.
The training has been great. Very interesting and challenging to take off’ my mediator hat and step back a bit.
I volunteer as a mediator with Bristol mediation, and wanted to do something similar more locally. An opportunity arose to train in restorative justice and volunteer with Wiltshire Police alongside several other Frome-based people with similar interests.
At the moment I am just interested in gaining experience and exploring options. I love running the market garden and campsite – but I may have time to do more conflict resolution work in the winter months, I’ll see how things go.
I have my own experiences of resolving conflicts with other people and an understanding of the processes I went through as well as the relief and satisfaction of feeling empathy rather than anger: my experience of running a land-based business with many users, with diverse needs and many challenging conflicts.and my experience as a mother of four children.
I also have a long-standing interest in human interactions: I have a degree in psychology and have been involved in non-violent communication for several years. I initially trained in mediation in 2006, but didn’t find time to practise until 2015. I am very excited about starting to volunteer as a restorative justice practitioner.
What motivates me going forward is an interest in all kinds of people and how to help them find peace in themselves. The motivation and commitment to read and learn about things I am interested in, knowing it will have a practical use. The prospect of working in partnership with other people/as part of a larger team – this is something I don’t get all that much of running my own business.
The role of restorative justice facilitator
Are you a non-judgemental and a fair minded person with excellent listening skills who would like to make a positive contribution to your community?
If the answer is yes you may be interested in finding out more about the volunteer restorative justice facilitator role with Restorative Together – Wiltshire and Swindon.
To be a restorative justice volunteer you must:
- Be aged 18 or over
- Be willing to go through police vetting
- Have excellent communication skills
- Be able to remain impartial when working with a case
- Have time and be flexible enough to attend training and supervision as required
Restorative Justice Facilitator role
Volunteer role title: Restorative Justice Facilitator Volunteer
Location: The Restorative Justice Coordinator is based in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) at Police Headquarters, Devizes.
Volunteers will work across Wiltshire and Swindon.
Suggested hours: Approximately 95 hours a year
An average two hours a week
Work will be daytime/evening/weekends
On successful completion of training and mentoring, you will be coordinating and facilitating restorative justice conferences between victims and offenders ensuring that the principles of best practice for restorative justice and agreed standards of practice, including timeframes, are applied and upheld. These include:
- Meeting both parties of a conflict: the victim and the offender.
- Assessing the appropriateness of convening a restorative conference and completing risk assessments (in consultation with the RJ co-ordinator).
- Facilitating a restorative justice conference, where this has been assessed as appropriate and where the victim and offender have both agreed to take part.
- Reporting as agreed on the conference process, the outcome of the conference, and follow-up of completion agreements.
- Record keeping and documentation as required.
It is anticipated that you will be asked to volunteer for up to three cases per year for approximately six to 15 hours per case over a number of weeks. If you really enjoy volunteering it may be possible to do more.
Task description and specification
For more information about restorative justice, please click the commissioning tab on the main menu and select Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice Council