Restorative Justice and Virtual_Decisions

Earlier this week West Midlands Police told Round Midnight about a young man who took part in a Virtual_Decisions, VR workshop after committing an offence. The officer describes the impact Virtual_Decisions had on the young person and how the programme has changed his life. It’s a tough but uplifting read.

Virtual Decisions: KNIVES
Re-enactment of an assault – Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES

JT came through to us after committing a Section 47 Assault (Actual Bodily Harm). Initially, he was quiet and very withdrawn, not wanting to speak about why he committed the offence and how he felt. I had asked him to consider taking part in Restorative Justice with the victim of the assault. However, he wasn’t sure if it was right for him, and I personally didn’t think that he would go through with it. 

He attended a four-hour Virtual_Decisions session as part of his Community Resolution Order and really engaged with both Phil and the others in the group. It took him a little while but he
was soon answering questions and asking them too. I felt that he was absorbing all the information, especially about victims and how they would feel.

After watching the Virtual_Decisions film and taking part in a workshop, he asked me for a chat. We discussed the Restorative Justice process and what it meant – he said he would like to apologise to the victim for his actions. I made the referral, and a successful Restorative Justice face to face conference took place whereby the offender and his father attended, and the victim and his parents also attended.

The feedback from the Restorative Justice team was really positive, and they felt that all parties had fully embraced the process and had sorted out the issues that caused the initial assault. The victim now feels happy to walk the streets and has overcome the anxiety caused by the incident.
The offender feels that he has dealt with the situation head-on, and the victim’s parents even praised him for being grown up enough to take part in the meeting.

Attending the Virtual_Decisions session opened his eyes to how his actions have made others feel. In addition, it changed his mindset about the consequences of his actions, not only hurting the victim but also creating a ripple effect and causing hurt to the victim’s family.