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Case study – Celia

Celia was a victim of crime and used the restorative justice process to contact the offender. Listen to, or read her story.

Listen to Celia’s story

Celia was interviewed on the radio about her experience with restorative justice. Listen to her story:

Read Celia’s story

The incident

It was around 3:45 in the afternoon and I’d been to a funeral. I got into my car and put my handbag on the seat. With the keys in the ignition, suddenly a face appeared at the window on the driver’s side of my car. I don’t think I’ll forget it.

I was really frightened. It was so quiet, and having been to a funeral, I think emotions are heightened.

I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Suddenly the door opened, my head was grabbed, I screamed “how dare you”, but before I could finish my sentence, my head was on the steering wheel”.

My bag was taken, I saw it thrown to another person who ran off to the woods behind. The chap laughed. I closed the door quickly. Obviously, I couldn’t run through the woods after him. I put my hand on the horn as hard as I could, but there was nobody about.

I felt sick and rather trembly when I was putting my hand on the car horn. I felt there might be somebody around but there wasn’t, there wasn’t anybody.

I then calmed down a bit. I had never been assaulted before in my life, and I don’t think I have ever been hit in my life. That really brought it home to me that they meant business. I felt helpless.

I didn’t go into panic mode, I was just hurt, sad and angry. It takes over your life. I then had a visit from an officer. They eventually arrested two men.

The restorative justice process

When I was first contacted by restorative justice, I took some time to think about it. I decided I wanted to know their story. I thought maybe I’ll never get another chance to help anybody and say, “think about your life, look at your options and decide, is this what you want to do for the next fifty years?”

One (offender) engaged with the process, the other is back in prison now, I understand. 

When the letter (from offender) was read to me, I was extremely pleased and very moved. It was heartfelt and I was told he hadn’t had any help with writing the letter”.

He made mention of things like “you weren’t used to being in police stations, whereas I have been in and out of them most of my life” he said. That struck a chord, we have had two very different lifestyles. He said he had “always felt alone” and that he “had to do everything and get everything for himself”, so he had to look after himself. 

When I wrote my letter back to him, I said “never feel that you are alone. There is always somebody you can turn to”. 

When I heard of the progress he had made, I felt really happy to know that this had come out of it. As a citizen, who has something to give back to society, it has been a second chance for him.  He didn’t get it at home or school, but he has got it with restorative justice. I am really glad about that”. 

I felt better about myself. I lost that feeling of being a vulnerable old lady who could easily be preyed upon. I played a part in getting one person back into a lifestyle with which, they are happy with themselves. To think that someone now feels part of society and that they are contributing – honestly that really is the best thing.

The offender’s story

Bruce carried out the offence. He explains why he did it, and how restorative justice helped him.

Find out more about restorative justice process.

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