My day begins with an early morning walk with my dog. Neither the dog nor I are very enthusiastic about going out when it’s dark, cold, and wet but I always feel the benefit of having a walk first thing as it gives me the chance to think about and plan the day ahead before either cycling into the office or logging on at home.
I joined the casework team just over 18 months ago. I’d previously volunteered as a Restorative Justice practitioner and knew that Restorative Justice can be very powerful in the way that it helps everyone to move forward. So I jumped at the chance to get more involved and develop this role.
My first task each day is to check for any queries or referrals that we have received. Most referrals come from the police, but we also receive referrals from other services including, support services, schools, criminal justice agencies and self-referrals. Once a referral is received, I check the information we’ve been given, raise any queries with the referrer and then add the case as an enquiry to our database.
I then make an initial call to the harmed party and the harmer. These calls give me the opportunity to introduce our service and discuss what each of the parties would like to get out of the process. I really enjoy this aspect of the job as everyone’s needs are different and at this stage I do not know what restorative path the case will take. For many victims of crime this will be the first time that their voice has been heard. My objective here is to ensure our service is flexible and accessible, and that I listen to what each of the parties need from a restorative process.
Once I open a case, I’m then responsible for it up until the point that it is allocated to our practitioners. For the most serious cases I will arrange a meeting with all the professionals working with either party. Sharing information is essential in preparing a case, identifying any potential risks, and deciding how it will proceed.
I have daily prompts on the database enabling me to keep up to date with the progress of each case. Today, amongst other things, I need to update a referrer about the outcome of a case, prepare detailed case notes for our practitioners in readiness for a meeting when the case will be handed over to them, and make a second call to an assault victim who is deciding if they would like to explore Restorative Justice further.
Whether I’m in the office or working from home I enjoy being part of a close team. We have regular catch ups with each other as well as a weekly team meeting where we discuss general queries and give an update on the progress of our cases.
It’s an interesting and very rewarding role. No two days are ever the same.