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Editor. Making Connections

Ronda Tokona, a restorative justice conference facilitator and lawyer, appreciates restorative justice on another level, having been a victim herself.

Being a victim in a restorative justice conference affirmed to lawyer Ronda Tokona "how positive this kind of process can be."

 

Ronda, who specialises in employment law, recently completed training as a facilitator for the court-referred project in Dunedin.  

 

"As a victim in a conference, it was excellent to be able to explain how the offender's actions impacted on me, to articulate all the physical, psychological and emotional outcomes as a result, and to see the offender responding. I thought restorative justice is an amazing process to allow that to happen."  

 

It was a belief in the importance of such interaction between victims and offenders that led Ronda to become a restorative justice facilitator.   

 

"Criminal law is an area I have never been keen to specialize in. When I did my law degree, I learnt about recidivism and how the same people were getting chucked out all the time. It wasn't something that I felt very positive about. I felt that if I joined the wheel, as it were, I wouldn't make any difference. But with restorative justice, I see some really positive outcomes."

 

Ronda believes strongly in the need for a "connection" between the offender's behaviour and the impact on the victim-- something she says is rarely achieved in the conventional court system.   

 

"That's why I like restorative justice and why I got involved. I like the thought of being part of a process that brings the offender to hear what impact their behaviour had on the victim, and the victim actually having the opportunity to say, 'hey, you pissed me right off.'"

 

"That is a fundamental that we all should live by in our own everyday lives."

 

Ronda was impressed with the facilitator training. "Conferences can be very emotional. There is a fine line between helping people express themselves and not being affected by it as well. I found the training particularly useful in terms of identifying what I as a facilitator need to do,"

 

 

 

Reprinted from Te Ara Whakatika: Newsletter of the court-referred restorative justice project.

December 2002. Issue 13.

 

 

 

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