Reflecting on Restorative Justive Week
Restorative Justice Week is an important way of highlighting the incredible impact that restorative justice can have on communities and individuals. CRJI are an organisation dedicated to the promotion of restorative justice as a means of healing harm which has occurred within our communities. CRJI practitioners act as an intermediary between victims and perpetrators, and curate a safe environment for those who are seeking closure. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on community projects, CRJI are working tirelessly to provide restorative justice services for the people in the North of Ireland, facilitating programs like the STARS project to deliver restorative approaches.
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice offers a victim the opportunity to communicate with a perpetrator. This provides a space for victims to seek answers through questioning, explaining how the crime has affected them and their families, as well as receiving assurance from the perpetrator that they have learned from their mistakes.
Creating a safe environment to promote conversation and highlight grievances helps the victim process the actions of an event and to further explore the harm that has occurred. Restorative justice also provides an opportunity for the perpetrator to reflect on the impact of their crime or action which leads to a significant drop in the potential of the perpetrator reoffending.
Why Does Restorative Justice Work?
Restorative Justice is an integral part of constructive and safe communication between victims and perpetrators of crime. Giving victims an opportunity to seek answers for events that have caused them trauma is an important part of many individual’s healing process. In the traditional criminal justice system, many victims feel contempt and confusion over how their own trauma has been handled. Restorative justice provides the much-needed space for for victim’s voices to be heard.
The impact of restorative justice isn’t just important for victims but is crucial for perpetrators as well. They are confronted with the volume of their actions and this can allow them to understand the consequences of their crimes. Restorative justice provides closure, lessens Post Traumatic Stress symptoms in victims, reduces repeat offending, among many other positive factors.
How has COVID-19 Impacted Restorative Justice?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental for most individuals, businesses, and communities in the North of Ireland. It has been particularly taxing on the most vulnerable in society who have been left to struggle fiscally, mentally, and physically with the loss of work and lack of clarity on laws surrounding COVID-19 measures.
Despite this, the CRJI has been delivering consistent and unwavering support to local communities and developing innovative and creative ways to service the growing needs of the most vulnerable in society. Some of these responses have been attained through the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers of CRJI serving their communities with the help of other equally committed organisations.
Some of the incredible work that this group of individuals have contributed towards has been the production and distribution of food parcels, creating and dispensing PPE, providing emotional and practical support to those in need, as well as arranging medication drop offs. Regardless of the terrible impact of COVID-19, CRJI has continued to serve the community.
What Work is CRJI Doing?
Restorative Justice is something that brings healing to communities through the facilitation of communication between victims, perpetrators, and the community. With that in mind, CRJI has developed the STARS Project in collaboration with the NIA (Northern Ireland Alternatives). STARS stands for Striving Towards A Restorative Society and it hones in on the core principles of the CRJI. The STARS Project is funded by TEO and managed by Co-operation Ireland.
Interested in the STARS Project and need more information? Get in touch with CRJI today to start transforming your community.
CRJI are committed to finding peaceful resolutions to conflict and pain through open dialogue and providing a range of services that seek to give communities the tools and resources to engage with one another. At no cost to participants, CRJI has a multitude of qualified practitioners who are wanting to serve their communities.
CRJI offer a variety of programmes including victim support services, drop-in advice centres, youth mentoring, rehabilitation programs, family support, and intervention services to name a few. CRJI creates environments that encourage inclusion, reintegration, as well as stressing equality, respect, and accountability.