Racially aggravated harassment or cause for alarm
Background to case:
The victim was working in a shop where she was the supervisor. On an evening shift a semi-regular customer attended and asked for a product that they did not have for sale. After repeating himself a few times the offender became agitated and took out his frustrations on the victim through racially aggravated verbal abuse. The offender (who is Lithuanian and was intoxicated at the time) called the victim names such as “F***ing English pig” and “stupid English pig” before eventually it escalated to threats of rape and death. The victim called the police and the offender left, only to return again when the police had gone. When the police returned the offender had again left and was caught in his flat and arrested. The victim was contacted by RJ practitioner.
The victim advised that the incident has changed her. She is no longer the outgoing employee she used to be and is now afraid to work the evening shifts. She always checks who has entered the shop when she hears the door and is always wary of someone in a brown leather jacket as that is what he was wearing that night. She also explained that it had a knock on effect to her sons and her mum who now don’t like her working in the shop. The victim advised that she has dealt with a lot of abuse, shoplifters and even found needles in the store but has never reacted as badly as she has to this. She said it was very personal to her and the threats of coming back to ‘rape and kill her’ terrified her. At the first appointment the victim said she didn’t want to be in a room with the offender but by the second time we met her she had changed her mind and said she wanted to face him and let him know how his actions had affected her.
The offender expressed deep remorse and advised that he was heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offence. So much so that he didn’t even remember what had happened and only gained the details through the police and watching the CCTV footage from the shop. He said that he wants to apologise to the victim and is happy to answer any questions to help her move on.
The victim and offender (with interpreter) met in a neutral environment in the community. The victim spoke first to explain the offence from her point of view and the offender spoke afterwards. The victim briefly became upset but managed to say everything she wanted to and gained the answers and an apology she was hoping for. The offender apologised to the victim for his actions and advised that she was not targeted for the offence. He disclosed that he was an alcoholic and after being sober for a long period of time had started drinking again. He reiterated that he didn’t remember the offence but took responsibility for his actions.
The victim feels more confident, ‘back to her old self’ and pleased she took part. She said that she had built the offender up ‘into a monster’ but this changed her perception of him. She has since become a volunteer for Remedi and continues to promote RJ. The offender said he was glad he took part and got to answer the victims questions. The offender manager for this person also verified that he has taken the process very positively.