Offence Type: Burglary
Description of the Offence
The burglary took place at around 8am, Judith was in the bath and had loud music on, her husband was out and her son was asleep, upstairs in bed. Judith said that she did not notice that anybody had been in the house until a couple of days later when she needed her purse as they were going out for the day and she could not find it or think where she had left it. Judiths’ first thoughts were to ring the local supermarket and see if anybody had handed her purse in if she had dropped it however nobody had. As a result of this, Judith thought she would look back through CCTV footage to see where she had misplaced it. However CCTV images show a male loitering outside of her house for a long time first at around 8pm, then entering the house via the back door (which was unlocked), taking her purse and leaving.
The victim was Judith and also her family. Judith said that since the offence she has felt very insecure and frightened by what has happened and the uncertainty of it happening again. Judith was worried about her son finding out as it previously disrupted his routine and he was unable to sleep or be on his own in the house. Judith stated that her and her husband have since constantly checked that doors and windows are locked around the house and when they go away for the weekend or on holiday they are always worried and thinking about the house. Since the offence, Judith has had electronic gates put onto the property and a large fence surrounding the house and its grounds; she said that this is for her own peace of mind due to being burgled twice since living there. Judith stated during a progress visit that she would like to receive a letter from the offender explaining why he committed the offence and would also like the offender to know and understand the impact that the offence had on her and her family to try and ensure that it would not happen again.
The offender, Luke, said that at the time of the offence he was not thinking about the victim, he simply needed food to survive and get by. Luke said that due to his anxiety issues and mental health state he struggled to even leave the house so it was a big thing for him to do at the time in desperation. Luke said that thinking back to the offence, he felt guilty and understood that he should not have done it, however also believed that he was not receiving suitable support in the community with his mental health issues. By participating in restorative justice, Luke hoped to apologise to the victim wanted the victim to understand that she was not targeted, and he was in a very difficult situation. Luke also said that he was willing to answer any questions that the victim may have to put her mind at rest
Indirect restorative justice took place in the form of passing a message from the victim to the offender and then a further letter exchange which was written by the offender to the victim. Prior to writing the letter, the facilitator explained to Luke about the impact that the offence had on Judith and her family. This helped Luke to understand the impact of the offence. Luke stated that he was ashamed about what he had done after hearing about the impact. Luke then wrote Judith a letter. In the letter he wrote about his personal situation in the community and what led to his offending behaviour. He also stated how sorry he was for what happened and that he did not intend to target Judith or her family and he did not wish for them to feel frightened. This letter was passed to Judith the following week.
After writing the letter to Judith, Luke said that that he did not think it would be enough to say sorry and write it in a letter, however he was very grateful that Judith had given him the opportunity to do so. Luke stated that the main reason for him participating in restorative justice was to help put Judith’s mind at rest so as long as she felt more at ease and less frightened, then the process was a positive experience for him.
After speaking with Judith after she received the letter, Judith was shocked as Luke had a lot of personal issues that she was unaware of. Judith said that she was pleased with the letter and was happy that she participated in the restorative justice process as it gave her the opportunity to speak her mind, let the offender know the impact that the offence had on herself and her family, which had ultimately helped to put her mind at ease and feel more secure in her own home.