A fundamental tenant of RJ is empowerment of participants; doesn’t an RJ assessment guide place the choice and control of the process back in the hands of the professionals?
RJ is not a universal panacea; it will not be applicable in all cases. If we adopt the ‘tool box’ metaphor then we need to have an appreciation of which approach, if any, works best in any given individual situation. That is why we need an assessment framework.
To some extent this is inevitable since as practitioners we have a responsibility to ensure that the process is physically and emotionally safe and secure for participants as well as having the potential to meet their individual needs. We can only do this by accepting that there are certain necessary pre-conditions which allow the effective and appropriate application of an RJ process.
We believe that this assessment framework, applied with the more general AIM initial assessment, gives practitioners and key participants a better indication of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular situation and thereby help identify the potential for a restorative approach.
The assessment is not prescriptive in nature and will merely point to the static/dynamic strengths and weaknesses of a particular case. It should be stressed that the assessment framework does not stand alone. It can only make sense if completed after a full AIM Initial Assessment has been finalised on the offender/abuser. Before the victim can be approached we need to some indication of the strengths and weaknesses of the offender/abuser and their family.
AIM is able to offer two related assessment frameworks;
- To address the restorative potential with regard to cases of Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB)
- A more general RJ assessment framework to cover all cases determined by the 2011 Best Practice Guidance to be ‘Sensitive or Complex’
The 2011 Home Office Best Practice Guidance is quite explicit in requiring a specialist RJ Assessment framework; The AIM models are the only ones currently available in the UK