Multiple factors lead to involvement in civil process, disciplinary proceedings, or the criminal justice system as a victim, the accused, or as a witness. And, in general, the systems serve neither victims nor offenders adequately.
Many victims initially hope the systems will protect them. They later report feeling “re-victimized” and “re-traumatized” by systems focused on confrontation, retribution and punishment rather than victim-centered redemptive justice. As a result, many victims don’t feel empowered to cooperate with administrative or criminal proceedings and many victims feel self-protective silence is the only safe option. Sometimes offenders use their financial advantage and malicious use of civil proceedings to further aggress against their victims, leaving victims feeling completely disenfranchised from the United States justice systems.
At the same time, guilty offenders become isolated from support resources that could prevent future offenses. Many do not confess and seek to rebuild better lives in isolation and without the professional resources available to non-offenders. Offenders who might otherwise work towards pattern changes choose self-protective silence instead.
Victim and Offender isolation and silence has a deleterious effect on the individual, their families, and society generally. In addition to isolating offenders from support that could reduce the likelihood of reoffending, offender silence leaves victims feeling abandoned, unheard and disbelieved.
Many offenders were once abandoned, unheard and disbelieved victims and some percentage of victims become offenders.
A destructive cycle of involvement in or avoidance of the civil and criminal justice systems occur. This cycle helps no one.
School of Teachers supports individuals through providing response, prevention and mitigation services to both victims and offenders.
We align our practice with the following 10 principles of justice:
- Seek the Truth and Adjure the Consequences
- Maintain Independence
- Provide Transparency
- Support our First Responders
- Protect the Vulnerable
- Amplify Children’s Voices
- Begin by Hearing
- Prevent Abuse, Exploitation, & Corruption
- Seek Redemptive Justice
- We are all Victim, Villain, Hero, Stranger & Observer to Someone
Victims are our highest priority and we offer triage to qualified professionals and in-house support services when appropriate.
Whenever possible, we employ criminal mitigation strategies to reduce the isolation of our clients who are offenders. We seek end results that align with victim-centered redemptive justice rather than offender punishment.