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Law professor says ‘restorative justice’ can heal

Dec 10, 2012

from the article by Kieth Upchurch in the Herald Sun:

To illustrate how communication can make a profound difference in people’s lives, Powell showed a video of interviews with a young couple whose home was broken into while they were gone and the two teens who did it.

Through mediation, the boys said they came to realize how deeply they hurt the couple, who suffered anger and fear after the break-in. In turn, the couple said talking face-to-face helped them to understand the boys’ actions, and they eventually forgave them.

The result is that the youths avoided jail, and the victims gained peace of mind.

....By bringing all sides together, he said, victims can better understand “what happened, why it happened, and do tangible things that address that harm and put things as right as possible.”

Mediation is a key tool, with face-to-face meetings between offender and victim.

“When people are hurt by crime, there needs to be more than one response to help them heal,” Powell said. “Simply finding an offender guilty is rarely enough to put the victim back in a whole piece like they were before.”

But what can the average person do to help a crime victim?

“Listen to them,” Powell said. “Don’t assume that we know what they need. That’s one thing that our system of justice does now – it assumes that we know what they need. But every individual is different, and every crime creates different needs.”

Read the whole article.

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