Volunteering with Restorative Justice Victoria
As a small non-profit organization, we are only able to accomplish all that we do with the help of our volunteers. Whether you volunteer on cases, in the office, or at a fundraiser, you are part of a compassionate and dedicated group that is supporting justice in our community.
Read more about the types of volunteer work
The work we do at Restorative Justice Victoria (RJV) has the power to improve the lives of victims, offenders, and others impacted by crime and violence. Our dedicated volunteers play a central role in this process. After a case passes pre-screening by a staff member, it’s turned over to a team of up to six volunteer caseworkers who manage the case from beginning to end. If the case has significant complexities to it, one or more staff members may stay on it to support the volunteers.
Volunteers receive thorough training and mentorship to ensure the integrity of our work. Due to the sensitive and legal nature of our activities, being a volunteer at RJV requires maturity, insight, respect, and the ability to be assertive when necessary. Volunteers at RJV have a high level of responsibility in each case we are referred.
How it works:
After a case is accepted, an email is sent out to all casework volunteers asking if they are able to take on one of the roles (typically two facilitators, a mentor for the victim, a mentor for the offender, a scribe, and a community member). Find a brief description of each role below:
- The facilitators lead the entire case. This position entails meeting individually with the victim, the offender, the supporters of both, and any participating community members to design a process that is safe and effective. Additionally, if there is a participating victim, the facilitators are assisting the victim in determining how they want to participate, what needs they have in the process, and how to best meet those needs. At the restorative justice dialogue, the facilitators lead the meeting and ensure the meeting space remains safe and respectful for everyone.
- The offender’s mentor supports the offender in taking accountability before, during, and after the dialogue, and can connect them with relevant resources in the community. This role requires at least one in-person meeting with the offender before the dialogue, as well as keeping in touch with the offender on a regular basis after the dialogue and supporting them in accomplishing each of their agreement terms.
- The victim’s mentor provides emotional and practical support throughout the restorative justice process. The role is not required for the successful completion of the dialogue, but is an option we offer all victims.
- Community members serve multiple purposes at the restorative justice dialogue. These roles are filled by our caseworkers as well as people from the actual communities where the offence took place. The goals of their participation vary from case to case but some of the typical objectives are to encourage the offender to understand the impact of their actions on the community at large, uphold and reinforce the harms and needs shared by the victim, share their own personal experiences as a victim or an offender to encourage insight, and more. Community members also contribute to the agreement.
- Scribes help out with all the administrative tasks at a restorative justice dialogue, including setting up the room, putting together all paperwork, typing the agreement, collecting surveys from participants, and facilitating the post-dialogue debrief with the team.
Due to the considerable training investment, we ask all casework volunteers to make a minimum commitment of one year after training and initial case coaching (average of six months to finish both). Facilitators and mentors are required to undergo a criminal record check, complete our 50 hour training, and participate in at least two cases a year. This ensures the burden of work does not continuously fall to the same individuals and allows for regular use of training.
Volunteers are an integral part of the services that we offer at RJV. It’s vitally important to us that our caseworkers reflect the diversity that exists within our community, which would not be possible with staff alone. We pride ourselves in providing participants with a team of dedicated individuals who are engaging in our work out of a desire to help the community, which many participants find comforting and supportive. We believe the integrity of our services and adhering to the principles of restorative justice are reflected through our use of trained volunteers.
Being a caseworker is very rewarding and can be also be very demanding. When you join RJV as a volunteer you are becoming a member of a supportive community, where every measure is taken to ensure volunteers feel valued, understand the importance of their role, and are confident in their ability to facilitate or support cases.
We have volunteers who provide administrative assistance at our office, which includes inputting survey results into our database and restocking file forms.
How it works:
We work with you to pick a regularly-scheduled time to come into the office. The time is flexible and based on your schedule. We usually ask our administrative volunteers to come in every two weeks for 1-2 hours. We will provide a 1 hour training session to get you started.
Our work involves a lot of administrative tasks that we can always use help with. If you are an organized and detail-oriented person who would like to contribute regularly without the heavier commitment to casework, this is the position for you!
Event and Project Volunteers
This type of volunteering can include helping out on committees, fundraisers and events, or ad hoc projects as they come up.
How it works:
We sign you up for our event and project mailing list. When there is an event, fundraiser, committee, or project that comes up, we will email it out to request volunteers. For example, our big fundraiser happens every fall and we are always looking for a variety of volunteers to help out.
If you would like to support our organization through volunteering, but aren’t able to commit to casework or regular volunteering, this is the option for you! The variety of events and projects means that you can contribute your specific skill-set in a meaningful setting.
Practicum Students and Internships
We accept occasional practicum students on a case-by-case basis, depending upon our organizational capacity and requirements of the practicum placement. If you are interested in completing a practicum placement with our organization, we ask that you please contact us by email. In your message, we ask that you please let us know why you are interested in completing a practicum placement or internship with our organization and provide us with a resume outlining your background. Please begin contact with us at least a semester before your practicum.
Interested in volunteering? Get in touch!
If you are looking for a unique volunteer opportunity where you will be able to develop new skills, learn more about the legal system, and contribute to the betterment of your community in a meaningful way, consider volunteering with RJV.
Please get in touch by filling out the form on the Contact Us page. Please let us know what type of volunteer work you are interested in. We appreciate your interest!