Victim Liaison Conference

Victim Liaison Conference
Mediation Support -Restorative Technology Ltd presentation followed this one on 15th July 2011

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The hypotheses and concerns

The hypothesis of Restorative Technology:

The status quo ante, or assumed pre-existing situation:
That restorative practitioners working in Youth Offending Teams offer opportunities for victims and offenders to communicate by face-to-face meetings or by letters (or verbal messages) that are delivered by the practitioner, usually in person and sometimes over the phone.
(Examples are known from earlier times of VHS video cassettes of an "offender" being recorded for the "victim" and shown to them). The idea isn't new; just the technogical opportunities and comfort of people using the technology changes.

My  hypothesis is that restorative practitioners who have confidence in (& commitment to) offering a wider range of ways for victims and offenders to communicate than this i.e. through mediated video-messaging or through opening a channel of mediated text-based messaging will achieve a higher rate of take-up of restorative communication.

Secondly, a number of individuals (victims and offenders) through video and text messaging will then want a meeting facilitated by a restorative practitioner.

If the time taken by staff in learning how to offer this wider range of services and the cost of providing the technology of video and text messaging amounts to less than the benefits to Youth Offending Teams, it would be logical for YOTs to encourage staff to use video and text-based messaging. 

A website systematically showing the experience of other users of restorative processes (eg. by offence type) could enable informed client choice in a way that saves YOT staff time.

However, the funding arrangments of YOTs do not reward higher levels of engagement with Restorative Processes, so the YOTs that will engage with this will be doing so for some combination of the following reasons:
1) believe in the intrinsic benefits of increasing the clients range of choices about participating in restorative communication
2)  a way to reduce the staff time allocated to Restorative Justice, by offering ways of communicating that require less staff time.
Restorative Technology Ltd supports restorative practitioners to offer mediated video-messaging and mediated text-messaging in the expectation that these will lead to more people engaging in restorative processes and more people wanting facilitated face-to-face meetings.

If YOTs do not offer to facilitate more face-to-face meetings, many clients will still have gained some clarity (answers to questions around the event), some reassurance, some personal growth, some knowledge which will help their future safety, some closure (or whatever other needs arose from the crime), and other benefits of communication.

More widely, the hypothesis adopts and amends the following equation: I=PxAxT, which is about sustainability and population:
The Impact (I) on the world's sustainability system is equal to the population (P) multiplied by the affluence (A) multiplied by the type of technology (T) that the population is using. 
called The Population Explosion.
If I have the mindfulness to successfully link the technology and the values together I'll have an impact on the safety of society which is my goal is a restorative practitioner. So the equation now runs as follows: The Impact of Restorative Work = The value base of individuals, interacting with Restorative Mindfulness, interacting with the technology chosen by each to enable the communication.
The above equation discussion is taken from a discussion between two restorative practitioners here.