A Wiltshire woman has praised the restorative justice process for giving her peace of mind following a burglary in her home.
Coral requested to take part in the workshops, which are run by Restorative Together, in order to find out why the burglar had decided to target her house.
She says that finding out she had been burgled, which happened during the day, came as a physical shock and led to her starting to hyperventilate.
"One of the things I've always loved about where I live is that all the years I've lived here, I'd never worried about security in that respect. But that was a long time ago now"
In the aftermath of the burglary, Coral started to feel uncomfortable in her home and would even be worried about going into her back garden in case someone went into her house while she was out there.
When she found out the man responsible for the burglary had been caught, Coral was amazed that he'd been arrested and felt a sense of relief but still didn't feel safe.
After looking at the items the burglar had taken and left some of the more sellable items behind, Coral wanted to know the reasons why.
She enquired about restorative justice so she would be able to understand what had happened and because she didn't want to feel vulnerable any more.
The aim of restorative justice is for both the victim and the harmer to get to a point where they can meet and talk about what happened with the hope that it gives them some form of closure to be able to move on in a positive way. It involves two restorative justice facilitators who work with them to make sure they're either ready for the meeting or can find another way for both parties to exchange their views.
Restorative Justice has been shown to reduce reoffending by around 14% and 85% of the victims who take part say they're satisfied with the process.
In Wiltshire, the restorative justice team funded by the Office of the Police and C rime Commissioner, has recently won “Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year” at the annual South West Citizens in Policing Awards.
Coral describes the session where she met the man responsible for making her feel vulnerable as brilliant because of his honesty.
"I did already have answers (to questions) in my mind before I went in but so many of the gaps were filled in for me that really gave me peace of mind and answered questions that I hadn't thought of.
"That was because he was prepared to engage in the process the way that he did and when he came into the meeting, he came in with the intention of being open and engaging fully. I have so much respect for him for doing that"
By the end of the hour long meeting the two shared a hug and said if they saw each other on the street in the future, they would make the effort to say hello with Coral saying she would be happy to be introduced to her harmer's family.
"To me, that's one of the best outcomes because for me to feel comfortable to do that, it means I would have let go of all of my feelings of insecurity and anger, whatever may have been residual... and the same for him.
"He would have to have stopped feeling really guilty about things to be able to reach out and say hi. He owes me nothing and I owe him nothing.
"But in order to be able to reach out and say hello to each other in the street and just be being polite, we would have done some serious work"
Published Wednesday 23 November 2022