Why would any victim want to meet their offender? Why would I, as a mediator, want even to put myself in such a situation? Not every case referral results in a meeting. But those encounters in which crime victims are able to ask questions and express emotions and offenders realize the human consequences of their behavior—in those face-to-face meetings—some extraordinary things can take place.
Getting to that place requires training, practice and preparation. It is one thing to put two people who at the outset seem to have little in common in a room together; it is another thing altogether to help them talk about the experience and arrive at a meaningful way to make things right. The August mediation training sponsored by Restore takes place over two days, Friday evening August 14th and concluding on Saturday the 15th.
Over those two days you will be introduced to the restorative justice paradigm; a bit of its history, the philosophy behind it, and how and why it is effective. You will gain a better understanding of how the criminal justice system works, a renewed appreciation for the importance of cultural and economic awareness, and the importance of listening to crime victims. Some of this will be provided by former victims, ex-offenders, judges and probation officers.
The majority of the training will focus on providing you with a new appreciation for crime, conflict, and what they represent. Through small group exercises, role plays and discussion you will learn many techniques and strategies for identifying, understanding and resolving conflicts. Often this requires us to re-learn a very basic skill we all have: listening with attention.
You will learn how the actual process of victim-offender mediation works—how cases get referred, how to introduce the program to victims and offenders, invite their participation and facilitate a successful meeting outcome, however that might be defined by the parties and the courts.
Other skills you will learn and practice over the course of the two days will focus on building empathy, understanding and practicing neutrality, and rediscovering the power of story to heal the past and shape new possibilities.
Please drop us a line to let us know where to send your registration sheet!