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Restorative Justice Conferencing: The key for victims is in one question.

Aug 03, 2010

from Kris Miner's entry on Restorative Justice and Circles:

....One area of Restorative Justice Professionalism I focus on, is remembering ALL victims.  Some victims do not get a victim-witness worker through the prosecutor’s office.  The list of Victims Rights for Wisconsin is very court-room, criminal justice system process orientated.  That’s good, victims need support and help navigating that.  What I do is restorative justice, and in striving to do that well for all victims I have experienced a conferencing question that is KEY.

The prepared questions I use are pretty standard.  I use the IIRP cards.  The question that gets to the heart of it is “what has been the hardest thing for you”.  I love how personalized this is.

I’ve heard beauty is in the eye of the behold and that harm is in the eye of the beholder.  After hundreds of pre-conference meetings and conference sessions I see this question really turn things for a conference.  The victim gets to express their deepest concerns.  They get to relate the crime in the manner that impacts them.

....We know our weakest moments.  I believe we ‘bookmark’ them mentally for survival.  Victims know what is the hardest part, because it is likely the memory or the piece that continues to haunt them and linger around.  The more serious the harm, certainly the deeper and more layers of what is hardest.

Read the whole entry.

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