Making a difference: Volunteer Restorative Justice Facilitator Paul Sunners
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In Wiltshire, Restorative Together is the organisation coordinating the restorative justice process, and it is supported by brilliant volunteers who are committed to providing facilitation.
Those who have been harmed by crime or conflict, are being brought together with those responsible, in a bid to repair the harm and find a positive way forward.
Paul Sunners has been a volunteer Restorative Justice Facilitator with Restorative Together since 2016 & has seen how important the organisation has been for those affected by crime or conflict.
“Many victims of crime can feel lost by the criminal justice process. Restorative Justice gives them the chance to ask questions about the incident, explain the impact that it had on them, and have a say in how the harm can be repaired.
“This can not only help those affected by crime to move forward and recover, but can also help people who have committed offences to make changes and move onto a better path.
“Through my role I have been able to gain a deeper insight and understanding of the positive impact it can have on both those who have been harmed as well as those people whose actions cause harm.
“My case-experience has been quite varied, involving family related and neighbourhood disputes, crime related incidents as well as a serious driving incident.
It is a really rewarding role, focused on communication, meeting with the parties involved and sharing questions and responses with an aim, at some point to meet face to face.
“There are of course many practical reasons why a face to face conference meeting may not be considered appropriate. This does not compromise the process but merely requires the facilitators to consider alternative ways in which communication can be shared.
“This could involve an exchange of messages using facilitators or one or both parties agreeing to communicate through letters.
“It is a voluntary process and can only work if both parties choose to engage.”
As part of Restorative Justice Week we want to thank our brilliant team of volunteers like Paul for their dedication and hard work supporting our communities.
For more information about Restorative Together including the referral process visit: https://www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk/Horizon/restorative-justice/?fbclid=IwAR1d1Izmt2fTf3gF5v-JT46uEwdGvR_3vDKDU-MSkD1QfWFdow7TbRAsqp8