Bringing neighbours together with restorative justice
Restorative Justice can be a really effective way to resolve neighbour disputes.
We use restorative justice to encourage residents to talk through their problems so that they can understand each other better. By being open and honest neighbours can build stronger relationships which reduces the risk of issues happening again.
Here is one of the many real life success stories we’ve had after customers have taken part in restorative justice.
*Names in this story have been changed to keep customers anonymous.
Mrs Jones* had made complaints about her neighbour, Janet, for having parties and playing very loud music outside of her home. Mrs Jones had also complained that she had seen several fights on her Janet’s doorstep and felt that this was ruining the neighbourhood, as their road was very quiet and friendly before Janet started hosting parties.
Mrs Jones’ story
Mrs Jones told us the disturbances were affecting both her physical and mental health. She went on to explain that she had Cancer and really needed her rest. She told us how much she enjoyed gardening and that this really lifted her spirits but Janet’s dog had recently ran into her garden and caused damage to her fence and plants which led to her feeling low and unhappy.
Mrs Jones explained that despite her neighbour was causing these issues, Janet had still helped her out in a neighbourly fashion by picking up food for her pets. She made it clear that she did not want Janet evicted but just wanted to road to be a peaceful place again.
The shuttle approach
Our Restorative Justice Officer described the process to Mrs Jones and explained that she would be able to tell her neighbour exactly how her actions had affected her.
Due to mobility problems, Mrs Jones was unable to leave her home to meet her neighbour in a neutral location so we offered her shuttle RJ instead. This is where the involved neighbours do not meet face to face, instead the RJ Officer explains the impact and harm the offending neighbour has caused. This helps the residents work towards a mutual agreement that will create a more positive and peaceful future.
Mrs Jones was happy to move ahead with the RJ shuttle approach, so our RJ Officer visited her neighbour to hear what she had to say about the problems.
Janet was very honest with us and accepted that her and her visitors behaviour had affected her neighbours. She was aware that Mrs Jones was unwell so was particularly upset to hear that the issues had been having such a negative affect on her.
Hearing the direct impact that her actions were having led Janet to suggest ways she could improve the situation. She told our RJ Officer that she would keep her music at a reasonable level, turn it off by a certain time and would make sure her visitors did not play loud music outside the property.
What happened next
Our RJ Officer informed Mrs Jones of what had been agreed. She was very happy with the suggestions and both parties signed an agreement to follow the measures discussed.
As part of all restorative justice cases, we provide a 3-month review to check that the involved residents are still happy and are getting along following the intervention. When we checked in with Mrs Jones, she was over the moon with how peaceful it had been in her community!
She said, “I haven’t heard a peep, it’s been glorious! It’s back to a lovely, quiet road – thank you for your support. Another neighbour who was affected by the noise has also expressed how much the situation has improved.”
Could restorative justice help you?
We’re really pleased with the results from our restorative justice service and this story is just one of many successes we’ve had.
If you think you could benefit from Restorative Justice click here to find out more and sign up.