I was involved in an unfortunate incident months ago which resulted in criminal charges brought against me. I’m a middle age professional, hardworking, responsible, family oriented, and engaged in the community that has never been involved in disputes like that, let alone with the police.
Out of frustration of experiencing the same noise situation for the last 7 years, I made a mistake when I let my anger control my actions. After this happened, a new chapter started in my life. First came the extreme worry for the well-being of 2 individuals that suffered, and then, the feeling that ‘everything was over for me’, a mix of shame, regret, and lack of hope.
Soon after the incident I contacted a lawyer to represent me. I was in good hands but felt that only the ‘legal’ side of things was being taken care of, not the ‘human side’ of the situation: the side that included all affected by the incident.
Fortunately, eventually I got involved with the Collaborative Justice Program. Actually I think the word ‘fortunately’ can not really express I mean...getting involved with the Program has really made a big difference in my life and I believe in the lives of the other people involved. The restorative approach was really effective; in my case it provided me the opportunity to apologise to victims (in writing) and ask them what I could do to help them. It led me to seek assistance in addressing and learning techniques to manage anger. And it helped me to be a more compassionate person overall.
I recently learnt that the Program has suffered budget cuts and every time I think about it my heart sinks. What will happen to people that could really benefit from the service if it becomes limited? Thinking about that I’ve decided to make a donation, an amount that might not be significant to the Program but that represents a lot to me and it is all I can afford. I hope my donation would help at least one person to be fortunate enough to benefit from the Program.
And last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the professionalism, attention and friendliness of my caseworker Amber Montgomery. In her capable hands this process was completed successfully.