Stories & Comments

Below are a selection of stories from victims, offenders and support people.

1. How well did the pre-conference information, provided by Restorative Justice Ötautahi, prepare and enable you to participate confidently in the conference process?

A member of restorative Justice [name removed] texted me first. Then facilitators [names removed] came to my house to talk and explain the process.

2. Were you treated in a fair and unbiased way by Restorative Justice Otautahi?

I liked the speed from the beginning of the process to the end. All done in approximately 1 month.

3. Did the conference create an environment that allowed the participants to explore the issues?

I think myself and the victim had a good amount of time to share our views, thoughts and opinions.

4. Did you feel that the conference was worthwhile attending?

Myself and my two support people thought it exceeded our expectations.

5. How much did the conference experience affect your understanding of the issues involved?

I found out firsthand how this event affected the victims life and recovery too.

6. Have you any suggestions on how we could improve our service?

No. I feel the balance is just right. Both parties had time to express themselves. The meeting went smoothly, no pointing the finger at each other or blaming each other. Just a mature approach to this event and a peaceful, forgiving, and calm closure.

Gary – March 2022

“This was great to do – as a victim it gave me an opportunity to positively look at the best outcome for all involved.”

“I would like to say a big thank you. It was well worthwhile, and people are put at ease throughout the whole decision / discussion process.”

“These conferences are the best; I have a lot of time for them.”

“Was very pleased to hear first-hand of what the causes were of the incident and hear the steps taken to improve the offender’s future.”

“I found it was great to have the opportunity to meet with the offender. There were some unexplained matters that affected my life, and it was great to be able to clarify this.
I have no regrets attending the meeting and showed courage meeting the offender. Although it is extremely difficult and emotional it allows both parties to understand each other and helps with closure. I am so pleased I did this and recommend the process.”

“I attended along with a support person. The support person was attending (in their words) for me, not really for the RJ process itself. However, by the end of the conference and the days since, we both agree that it was life changing, in a good way. We genuinely forgive the offender, understanding that nothing is simple, reinforcing that everyone deserves a chance to share their story, ask for forgiveness and try for a better life. Even though the event (burglary) was upsetting, the RJ process has been healing for us, and hopefully for the offender as well. 
Since the conference, I have been sharing the experience with friends and family. A large number were initially shocked that we would want to meet and talk with the offender and questioned why we would put ourselves through it. However, after listening to our experience, one which brought compassion and understanding to an otherwise upsetting experience, like us, they also saw the benefits of RJ, for all involved. Preparing for and attending the conference isn’t easy. It can be uncomfortable and confronting. But taking that into account, I still highly recommend the RJ approach.”

“Never having experienced, or needed to, this type of meeting, I very much appreciated the sympathetic help and preparation which the Facilitators afforded me. I applaud both for their skills, abilities and willingness to ‘smooth the way’ as it were and to undertake this very valuable work. Thank you so much.”

“I was very thankful for the opportunity to have this conference. The facilitators were very professional and sympathetic in their handling of the case putting me at ease. Regardless of the yet to be court appearance this meeting was very rewarding to me personally.”

Hearing the effect of the incident on the offender’s extended family was very helpful.

I thought it was a very deep and moving process that you ran so very well. I thought that both the victim and offender were both so amazing and did so well. I was really moved by the whole process.