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A Restorative Justice Conference from Catch 22 (Victim First)

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A Restorative Justice Conference – Catch 22 (Victim First)

Situation Framing the situation. What was the state of affairs before any action was taken? What impact was this having on the service user? What were the associated risks?
We were approached by a school to see if we could build on support that we were giving to their students involving Restorative Justice.

One case stood out involving the behaviour of a student who was now looking to be excluded permanently from school without understanding his needs and why he was behaving like he was.

The student was being looked after by his older sister as his mum was in prison for drug related charges. His dad had not been on the scene since he was little.

The student was highly intelligent and was fond of philosophy and maths. He spent a lot of time on his own and had only a few close friends who he got on well with.

However, he was subject to losing his temper for no obvious reason.

This lead to other students being wary and somewhat scared of the student, not knowing if his behaviour would erupt into something more explosive.

On one occasion the student lost his temper in class and confronted the teacher extremely aggressively. This lead to him storming around the school grounds, during break, looking for the Principal to confront, which he did, shouting and screaming in his face threatening violence in front of others in the playground.

The police were called and attended the school and finally calmed the student down.

The school decided, rather than pressing charges, to see if a different approach could help support the student in understanding that his behaviour was unacceptable and that others were scared of him.

Task What needed to be done? What was your role in the situation? What other agencies were involved?
A number of 1-2-1 Restorative Justice sessions were arranged, in a safe environment, away from other students.

This allowed the student space and time to express his feelings and anxieties. Sessions were planned specifically to look at why he was behaving like he was and his effect on others.

The student stated that he hated his parents for not being there and hinted to there being potential psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

Actions How the task was achieved? What action was taken and by whom? What were the specific steps?
This lead to a Restorative Conference involving the student, Principle and the teacher assaulted. Ground rules were agreed and signed up to by each person to listen and respect each other’s views and feelings.

The outcome resulted in the student apologising for his behaviour and understanding why others were scared of him.

The Principal and teacher expressed their wish to see him do well and wanting to support him.

Although the student was excluded from the school it resulted in a better package of support being put in place with specialist support teachers that met his complex needs and a better understanding of why he was behaving like he was.

This was discussed in the conference and the student started to understand that everyone was acting in his best interest and that having dedicated and specialist support may be better for him and allow him to address what had happened in his past.

Outcome What was the result of the above? How did the intervention benefit the service user?
The student expressed total satisfaction with the approach and the outcome. He accepted that the teachers were acting in his best interest and that dedicated support would be good for him.


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