Coronavirus Update - Managing the risk of Covid19

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Author: 
James Simon
Date: 
17 March 2020

Coronavirus Update - Managing the risk of Covid19

The RJC have been contacted by several members requesting advice on whether practitioners should continue to offer face to face restorative justice meetings in light of the government advice issued yesterday. We will all be aware that the latest advice issued by the government stated:

  • Even if you don’t have symptoms, and if no one in your household has symptoms stop non-essential contact with others, and stop all unnecessary travel.
  • Work from home where you possibly can, and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.

The latest advice will of course impact significantly on the restorative work being delivered across a range of sectors. Whilst service providers will have their own contingency plans in place, it is important that service providers and practitioners consider whether physical meetings with service users are essential. The RJC recommends that your risk assessment procedures are updated to include how the risks posed to participants and practitioners by Corvid19 can be mitigated. Conducting face to face meetings at this time does pose a significant to risk to all those involved; there are limited mitigating factors which would safely reduce this risk. 

When undertaking risk assessments, consideration should be given to alternative communication methods which may allow cases to progress safely. This could include continuing contact with service users by telephone or via online meeting platforms. Of course, this is not always going to be possible or appropriate. Practitioners should agree with participants the most appropriate way forward during this time. It is important that any decisions made about case progression are communicated to all participants. Practitioners should continue to maintain regular contact with participants to reassure them that their case will progress when it is safe to do so. 

The response to the coronavirus is changing rapidly and we should all continue to monitor the daily updates being released from central government.