Mediation West’s restorative programming received a boost with a $5,000 grant award from the Union Pacific Foundation as part of their Community Ties Giving Program. Mediation West has a slate of mediators specially trained in restorative practices who are able to assist victims of all types of crimes; this grant focuses on serving those affected by traffic offenses with property damage and/or personal injury, under the Foundation’s community safety priority.
Thus far, Mediation West has opened 7 cases with the grant funding and serviced an 8th case that was opened prior to the grant being awarded. All cases have been referred by the Scotts Bluff County Attorney’s office; however, Mediation West is able to accept referrals from all 15 counties in its service area and can accept referrals from any referral source, including Judges, Probation, Law Enforcement or participants themselves.
One of the focuses of Mediation West’s restorative programming involves conferencing with those who have been harmed due to another’s law violation. Mediators first meet with those affected to learn about the true impact of the incident. Those same mediators then meet individually with the youth or adult defendant that caused the harm to learn their perspective on the case.
Then, when appropriate, the mediators facilitate a meeting between the parties in an attempt to repair the harm caused. In some cases, a surrogate victim can participate in place of the actual victim during the joint meeting. Reparation agreements from these meetings can include monetary restitution or donation of money or volunteer service to community organizations. Often, the questions that are answered and the perspectives that are shared go a long way toward bringing closure and creating peace of mind for the future for both parties.
Nebraska’s Mediation Center network is comprised of 6 non-profit mediation centers that ensure alternative conflict resolution services to citizens of all 93 counties. Mediation West serves the 15 counties in Western Nebraska: Arthur, Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Grant, Hooker, Keith, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, and Sioux.
For more information about this grant, to inquire about training to become a surrogate victim, or to discuss adding a non-profit to the list of locations for community service for juveniles and/or adult defendants, call Restorative Practices Program Director Judy Amoo at 308-635-2002.