Lucy took part in Restorative Justice seven years after her ex-partner violently attacked her, and bravely shared her story with why-me.org. Taking part in RJ helped Lucy to gain closure and move on with her life.
Thank you to why-me.org for allowing us to share Lucy’s story. You can read the original article here: https://why-me.org/lucys-story.
“Seven years after he had committed a violent attack on her, Lucy met her ex-partner in a restorative meeting. The meeting provided Lucy with a chance to gain closure and move on with her life.
Lucy was violently attacked in her home by her ex-partner, which left her hospitalised with life changing injuries. On that night Lucy’s daughter was sleeping in another room but later awoke to find her mum, thinking she was dead. Lucy’s ex-partner was sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence.
The impact of the assault and the criminal justice process continued to affect Lucy for many years. With the potential of a parole hearing coming up, Lucy’s anxiety about what might happen increased. That’s when she agreed to Restorative Justice.
“I don’t know where I would have been with him back in the real world. I spent six years locked indoors when he was behind bars. I probably would have been forever chasing my own tail.”
“The relationship had just ended, I was in hospital, he was in a police station and that was that. Still to this day I don’t know what happened. That’s what I thought I wanted to know but turned out that actually I didn’t want to know that. I just wanted to have my say, as there wasn’t any chance of that in the court case because he pleaded guilty.”
“If someone had said ‘no’ to me having Restorative Justice, I don’t think the curtains would be open. I wouldn’t be outside, I would be indoors, just a nervous wreck, panicking about everything, every sound with the telly on mute, subtitles on.”
Lucy met her ex-partner in a restorative meeting which took place in prison and a few weeks before the parole hearing.
Talking about going into the room where the meeting was held, Lucy says “In my head it needed a whole army to keep me safe in that meeting room. But I did feel safe.”
The victim and offender are involved in a restorative meeting and both must be willing and agree to take part. The process is managed by trained facilitators who make sure it is safe for everyone.
Restorative Justice can be about gaining answers or a chance to explain to offenders the impact of their actions. For Lucy it was all about gaining back control of her life and a step in her recovery process.
Reflecting on the meeting, Lucy says “After coming out of the prison, it was a relief. It was just letting it all go in one breath. It’s like when someone says there’s no quick fix but that was it, that was the turning point for me. That was the beginning of the rest of my life.”
“The best thing for me was seeing him as just one person. It was like just a big black massive cloud consuming my life and then when I got to the meeting it was like ‘what’s all this been about’.”
Since the meeting, Lucy’s life has changed for the better – she’s working, she is a facilitator for a local support group and her relationships with both her mother and daughter have improved.
“I walk around with head phones in now. To me that is massive, because sometimes I would have it on really quietly with only one ear in so that I could know there was somebody behind me. Now I have a sort of openness that I didn’t have before the meeting because I was worried about what people would think if I said his name.”