RECOURSE provides a variety of conflict resolution services for young people and their families:
- Mediation services for parents and teens in conflict
- Restorative justice Victim-Offender mediation (REVORP)
- Monitoring of youth to support their compliance with the terms of the mediated agreement
- A variety of skills-based, practical communication and conflict resolution workshops
Restorative Justice Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (REVORP)
Restorative Justice is based on the belief that when young offenders are taught the consequences of their actions by facing their victims they are less likely to re-offend. When the youthful offender is given an opportunity to repair the harm they caused and offered a chance to create right relationships, they are then better able to participate in the community.
Young offenders meet face-to-face with their victims to hear the impact of their actions and work to repair the harm s/he has caused. The goals of the Program include rebuilding relationships, increasing youths’ understanding of how their actions affect others, assisting both victims and offenders to find closure, and strengthening the entire community through increased understanding and communication.
REVORP is funded through a contract with Sonoma County Juvenile Probation.
The process of restorative justice mediation empowers all participants who have been harmed by the actions of the juvenile, including the family. It allows the youth and the people s/he has impacted to speak honestly about the offense and share in creating agreements to make things right. Victims of the crime have the opportunity to fully express their needs and what it will take to repair the harm caused.
Parent-Teen Mediation assists families in working toward resolution when they are struggling to overcome persistent conflict and barriers to effective communication. Parents and teens are constantly negotiating new ways of interacting with each other and mediation can provide a safe, respectful and productive way of doing so.
Monitoring of Youth – keeping mediated agreements
RECOURSE staff can monitor the young person to ensure that mediation agreements are kept and that youth and their families have the support they need to make positive changes. This is particularly helpful in victim-offender mediated agreements which often include specific actions necessary to make things right with the victim. When all terms of the agreement have been satisfied the referring agency is notified of successful completion.
RECOURSE mediators are community volunteers who have received extensive training and evaluation to ensure quality service. Our mediators represent the diversity of Sonoma County and are committed to the idea that, with support, people have the ability and power to solve their own problems peacefully.
RECOURSE has bilingual, bi-cultural Spanish speaking mediators.
RECOURSE Youth Services are self-pay programs. In victim-offender mediation, the fee directly addresses the youth’s personal responsibility since repaying parents for the fee is worked into restitution as a way of repairing the harm. In this way, youth are reminded of the cost of their behavior in a ways they may not have considered. Fees cover only some portion of the cost of providing the service, and we offer a range of affordable payment options for families.
Benefits of Victim/Offender and Family Mediation
- Victims are often able to let go of their fear and anger and get answers to their questions and concerns.
- Youth are able to see the real human consequences of their behavior and take more responsibility for their actions.
- Through mediation the focus changes from one of judgment and punishment to one of accountability, problem solving and healing.
- Both victims and offenders report a high degree of satisfaction with the mediation process and outcomes; they feel the process provides fairness and accountability.
- Law enforcement, juvenile probation and courts are able to divert cases to mediation from an over-burdened caseload.
- Often, when the youth completes the terms of their diversion or agreement the referring agency closes the case and it may not appear on the youth’s formal record.
- Mediation is designed to reduce further offending by youth and to increase their communication skills for handling future conflicts.
- Mediation strengthens family relationships by helping parents and youth hear each other and develop a basis for resolving conflicts at home.
- RECOURSE programs benefit the entire community by offering opportunities for restitution, communication, understanding and accountability.
When young people make bad choices that result in crime, RECOURSE can help by bringing together the victim of the offense and the young person. In a mediation session involving the young person, parents and the victim, the victim talks about the impact of the crime and what it would take to make things right.