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Best Program Practices

Best Practices 

  • Contact and inform participants prior to the forum, ensuring understanding of the issues and process.

  • Create an open, safe and trusting atmosphere

  • Make certain everyone in attendance has a legitimate reason to be there

  • Help people understand why they are participating

  • Speak in simple and direct language

  • View yourself as an assist to the process; a neutral referee

  • Treat all participants with dignity and respect

  • Make members the centre of attention

  • Remember the purpose and focus of the conference

  • Make sure everyone has a clear understanding of any agreements reached

  • Ensure that participants feel ownership for what has been achieved

  • Ensure agreements are not stigmatizing or shame-inducing

  • End on a positive and optimistic note

Group Students Smilling

Practices to Avoid

  • Proceeding if the facts are in question

  • Allowing someone other than the offender to outline what happened

  • Losing sight of the aim of the process: to achieve the most satisfactory outcome for victims and offenders; repairing the harm done and reducing the potential for further harm.

  • Imposing a sermon or prayer on the group

  • Involving people who have no right to be there

  • Taking sides

  • Rushing the process

  • Remaining oblivious to what the group thinks or needs

  • Losing track; deviating from the script (order of events)

  • Trying to provide the answers or to “fix” things

  • Being overly passive on process

  • Allowing discussion to get badly side-tracked

  • Insensitivity to cultural diversity issues

  • Issuing a final lecture

  • Telling offenders they are lucky to have this opportunity

  • Telling offenders they will never have this opportunity again

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