You never thought it would happen to you. You can’t believe how it’s disrupted your life and routines. You find yourself being extra watchful about your safety. Perhaps you’re angry about all the inconveniences that have followed. These responses are all normal.
It’s also perfectly normal to want to know why the incident occurred and whether you were personally targeted. The circle process allows you to ask whatever you’d like to know.
The police may have told you that your case may be referred to Communities for Restorative Justice. They say 'may' because three pieces have to be in place:
- Those facing charges for the crime must take responsibility. If they’re disputing the charges, the case will likely go to court.
- You are given a chance to consider a restorative justice referral and whether it will serve your needs. We’d be happy to talk with you more about the option, but if you would rather go to court — for whatever reason — you can veto the referral to this program by telling the responding police officer your wishes.
- Together with the police department, we must be able to ensure the safety of all the affected parties — especially you. If we have a concern about the wellbeing of anyone involved in the case, we may advise that the case not be referred.
If these criteria have been satisfied, we will gladly accept the case and be in touch with you. Read on to learn about each step in the process.
"I went from being a skeptic...to thinking it's a win-win."
The brief video clip below is an interview with someone hurt by crime, Hussein, who went through the process some years ago. He offered his story here as a way to give strength and insight to others considering this option. His interview is part of a longer piece called "Finding Courage: Addressing Harm with Restorative Justice Circles" also available on YouTube.