Goals of Group Conferencing
* Provide an opportunity for those who are
impacted to be directly involved in the
discussion of the harm caused and in the
decision regarding how the referred individual
can take accountability for the the harm done.
* Increase the offender's awareness of the human
and community impact of his or her behavior and
provide an opportunity to take accountability for
* Allow both offender and victim to reconnect
back into the community.
Group Conferencing can be used in many different situations where harm or conflict has occurred. Referred individual, family members, justice personal, school staff, administrators, resource providers, community support, and all other interested parties attend the meeting to support the referred individual in reaching identified goals.
When used in a criminal or delinquency case and a clear victim and a clear offender has been identified the victim family and supports, offender family and supports, all meet to come together and reach an agreement by consensus about how the offender might make right the wrongdoing.
The conference facilitator contacts the identified
individuals to explain the process and invite them to the conference. The facilitator also asks the identified parties to identify key members of their support systems, who also will be invited to participate.
* Begins with referred individual sharing his/he
perspective about the incident.
* Victim describes the impact is has had on their
well being and how they were affected.
* The other participants then describe the impact
of the incident on their lives.
* The offender is given opportunity to speak
about what he/she heard.
* Victim(s) and victim(s) supporters share their
ideas about how the harm can be repaired to
the extent possible.
* Consensus is reached by the victim(s) and
offender(s) and an agreement is signed.
Through the dialogue, the referred individual is faced with the impact of his/her behavior on the direct victim, victims family and friends, on the offender's own family and friends, and on the community. After a thorough discussion of the impact, the affected party is asked to identify their desired needs for the outcome of the conference. This gives those affected the opportunity to shape the obligations that will be placed on the offender. All participants contribute to the problem-solving process of determining how the referred individual might best repair the harm he/she has caused. The session ends with the participants signing an agreement that outlines their expectations and commitments.