Keeping restorative justice on the agenda
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a swift and immediate impact on the delivery of restorative justice across the United Kingdom. It has led to many service providers facing significant operational challenges and a need for practitioners to quickly adapt the way in which in they work to ensure that they can continue to support service users during lockdown. It is not unusual for practitioners to have to be adaptable; the environment in which we work often leads us to amend they way in which we work to ensure that participant needs are met. However, our current situation has meant we have had to completely rethink the way in which restorative justice is delivered.
Changes to working practice also impacted on the work of the RJC. Having recently released our Practice Guidance 2020, we quickly identified that additional guidance was needed to ensure that remote practice remained safe and effective. As we all adapted to working remotely, it quickly became apparent there was a need for additional guidance to support practitioners who suddenly found themselves working remotely. Our Standards Committee quickly responded by developing additional practice guidance for the Remote Delivery of Restorative Practice.
Shortly after publishing our Practice Guidance 2020, we launched RJC-Connect. These networks provide a space for practitioners to connect, collaborate and develop practice. As part of the launch, we hosted several RJC-Connect events focusing on specific areas of practice including managing sensitive and complex cases, delivering high quality case supervision and keeping restorative on the agenda. Whilst we focused these events on implementing our Practice Guidance 2020, it came as no surprise that the impact of Covid-19 on service delivery featured at each of these events.
This was most evident during our ‘Keeping restorative justice on the agenda’ event. At an operational level, practitioners shared the challenges of continuing case work remotely. This included getting to grips with new technology, concerns with ensuring participant safety and understanding what was and was not appropriate to progress online. Service leaders also expressed longer term strategic concerns; particularly the potential impact on future funding as we start to recover from the unprecedented spending decisions which have had to be made by our Government.
Despite these immediate challenges and future concerns, it was heartening to hear how our members were adapting practice and were continuing to progress many of their cases where it was appropriate to do so. This included the wider use of indirect restorative processes, undertaking remote preparation meetings and, for those working in youth justice, developing creative and meaningful reparation sessions which could be safely delivered following lockdown rules.
As part of our #strongertogether campaign we want to showcase how practitioners have kept restorative justice going during this crisis by publishing a series of ‘lockdown’ case studies. We would like to invite practitioners and service providers to submit their experiences of practising during lockdown.
We would particularly like you to consider:
- What has worked well for you?
- What have your concerns been and how have you overcome these?
- How have utilised technology to support your work?
- How have participants responded to remote working?
You can submit your Lockdown Case Study any time before the 31st July 2020. Please ensure that you have signed the Publication Consent Form before submitting. If your case study refers directly to any third party, you will also need to gain their consent.
Download our Lockdown Case Study Form
Download additional Publication Consent Forms
Completed case studies and consent forms should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also join in the discussion by submitting your response using our ONLINE FORM, emailing us at Communications@restorativejustice.org.uk or by leaving a comment on this article by signing up for Disqus Account using the form below