A Workplace Assault: Restorative Justice Case Study
Nick worked at a clothing shop. When he noticed Glenn, a customer, shoplifting, Nick stepped in to challenge him. The police were called after Glenn punched Nick in the side of the head.
Nick was very upset. His fight or flight response kicked in because he was so shocked to have been punched, especially at work. He described himself as ‘not a fighter’ - the experience was very alien to him.
Since the incident, Nick was scared. He experienced low mood, fear, and anxiety. He was worried that a similar incident was going to happen and he was worried he might see someone in a blue tracksuit (the outfit Glenn was wearing when he attacked Nick). Nick’s other fear was that if he saw Glenn or if a similar situation unfolded, he himself might do something ‘stupid’.
However, when he opened up to his friends about his worries, they tried to persuade him that getting punched wasn’t a big deal and that he should just get over it. He gave up his job because of his anxiety, which means that he has had to endure financial hardship.
When Glenn agreed to take part in Restorative Justice, Nick initially wanted to communicate with Glenn indirectly. Beforehand, we captured the things that Nick might communicate to Glenn. We agreed to email the notes of what he might say to Glenn and asked Nick to confirm he wanted to progress with the indirect process.
On reflection, Nick decided not to progress with an indirect Restorative Justice process. He felt that the restorative conversation was all he needed to move forward.
Of his Restorative Justice experience, Nick said: “As for moving forward, I have sat with this for the past few months and I've decided to not take this any further. I was thinking about this a lot and I couldn't make my mind up. But this hasn't been a waste of time for me. Being able to talk to you about this and be heard with no judgment was really therapeutic for me.
“My friends and family weren't as understanding about my emotions and it felt like my trauma was dismissed. It truly felt like closing the book on this event and I've felt better about it ever since. Thank you so much for that. You people really do make a difference and I'm sure there are others who will benefit greatly from this.”