Your grace with sorrow informs your restorative justice approach
....The type of “informed” work that influences practitioners, the topic of this blog, comes down to the way we carry our own sorrow. I think this impacts the manner and approach with we use with victims, offenders, and community members. From the range of simple to extremely complex cases, our own sorrows (and the grace of which we carry sorrow) comes along to our facilitation experiences. The experiences we have a facilitator also inform our ability to carry sorrow with grace.
I enjoy restorative conferencing. I've been awed by the way people share their hearts and address the harms they've caused or experienced. While not everyone will go into a conference, I like offering an opportunity. I've learned that I can serve just by listening to stories when people aren't interested in the conference process. They are interested in someone who will listen to them.
Can I cry?
I have a confession to make. I cry at the drop of a hat. Movies, television shows, commercials, stories – it doesn't matter. I can be in tears in 0.2 seconds.
So, it may be a surprise to folks that know me to learn that I don’t cry when I’m facilitating. I’m tempted at times, but I haven’t actually shed tears during a conference. I've been thinking about this recently after a training event in Panama where several Prison Fellowship leaders were talking about facilitating the Sycamore Tree Project®. The training had been intense with personal stories and a lot of tears. In the middle of all the sharing, one of the leaders asked if it was okay for the facilitator to cry.
A need to talk
“He never talked to us and we were friends.”
I recently heard this statement several times from a couple whose teenage son was killed in a vehicular accident. The “he” they referred to was the driver of the vehicle who had been their neighbour at the time. Throughout the hour long preconference, they continually repeated their hurt and disappointment that the offender had not offered condolences or talked to them since the accident. That lack of communication just seemed to weigh on this couple as they struggled with their grief.
Practitioner Register launched in UK
The Restorative Justice Council (RJC) has launched a new Practitioner Register. This has been a long time in coming – the RJC worked since 2004 on Best Practice Guidance, which finally in 2010 formed the basis for National Occupational Standards (National Occupational Standards exist across all sectors in the UK, so are a benchmark of skills and knowledge).
Based on this we have now been able to develop Practitioner Registration. Pracititioners will be able to register with the RJC either by taking an award based on the National Occupational Standards (an award that assesses both their knowledge and their skills on the job) or by providing a portfolio of evidence to us that their practice meets the National Occupational Standards.