Community Conferencing is a method of conflict resolution that is based upon Aboriginal values and the idea that when an incident occurs, relationships are damaged.
How does it work?
In a Community Conferencing session, participants sit in a circle and share their thoughts and feelings by discussing the incident, its aftermath and what can be done to achieve reparation and justice. The participants in a conference include a facilitator, the person(s) harmed, supporter(s), the person(s) causing harm, supporter(s) and any other key people who were directly or indirectly affected by the incident. The facilitator asks specific questions in order to facilitate a clear understanding of the impact of the incident. The offender is then given the opportunity to respond.
Telling the Story
During this first stage, the offender accepts responsibility for the harm they have caused and tell us about the incident.
During the second stage, participants express how they have been affected by what has happened and seek to determine how the harm should be repaired. This is a discussion about what responsibility the person causing harm has, to make things right and how the whole community of people affected might help achieve this reparation.
Agreement & Reintegration Phase
A written agreement is developed with clear arrangements for follow-up.
The final stage of the conference marks the beginning of the participants’ reintegration into their community. Participants share snacks and refreshments during an informal socializing time. People are left with the feeling that they can now begin to move on with their lives.