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Julie and Anthony’s story

Feb 18, 2015

from the Restorative Justice Council's Restorative justice in youth offending teams information pack:

After Anthony, 15, lost his temper during a game of football and assaulted another boy, he was offered the chance to take part in a restorative justice conference. Here, Anthony and his mum Julie explain how it helped them to move on from the incident and deal with his behaviour. 

Anthony: I was playing football and there was a lad there called Ben*. He had come out with me and my friends a few times before but I didn't really know him well. During the game I thought that Ben had kicked me but he hadn't really done anything. I got really angry. I just lost it for no reason whatsoever. After the game as he was walking off I chased after him and as he turned around I hit him in the face and cut his eye open. After that I just ran home.... 

Julie: At the police station they showed us photographs of Ben that had been taken at the hospital and that frightened me to death. Ben’s injury was really bad and there was a lot of blood. It was a big gash on his eyebrow and it had actually gone down to the bone....

Anthony: I was given a youth caution and that’s how I met Cate Fitzpatrick at Wigan Restorative Solutions. She talked me through how I was feeling and I told her I was scared and shocked after what had happened. I told her that I wished I hadn't hit Ben. 

She told me restorative justice might be able to make the situation better. I thought it might make me feel better and I’d be able to apologise to Ben. I said I’d like to take part.

Julie: Cate visited us at least three or four times before the meeting and she phoned several times too. I think if we hadn't had the contact beforehand we would have really struggled but because we had that preparation we knew exactly what was coming. 

Anthony: ...It was about a month later that the meeting went ahead. I went along with my mum and Ben was there with his mum. I was nervous before going in, I didn't know how he would react.

When I went through to see Ben, he wasn't angry. He seemed confident. He told me about how he had felt at the time. It made me really upset to think that he had had to go through all of this because of something I had done.

I told Ben that I had been angry for no reason and had taken it out on him. I told him I had lashed out over nothing. I had been shocked and upset after I had hit him and I told him that was the reason I had run off. I apologised to him for what had happened and he told me he had accepted the apology – he even said ‘thank you’ to me. 

It felt good to be able to speak to him about what had happened. I felt like I had got it all out of my system and it was all over and done with. If I saw Ben again I think I would be able to talk to him because of restorative justice.

Julie: I didn't expect it to, but the meeting had a really relaxed atmosphere. After the questions, we all had tea, coffee and biscuits and had a chat. Ben’s mum gave Anthony a hug. She said she didn't expect Anthony to be who he was. I suppose when you are the victim’s mum meeting your son’s attacker, you don’t expect to meet a quiet boy. She said she was really surprised meeting Anthony and that she felt that something like this could happen to anyone.

Read the whole story.

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