WMPeople: Zohya Hamid, Restorative Justice volunteer 

  • Zohya Hamid, 25, works full time in a women’s refuge but volunteers for us in her spare time 
  • Among her roles is helping to resolve neighbourly disputes which have been on the rise since lockdown started 
  • She lives at home with her parents, two sisters and brother 

Zoyha Hamid
Zohya Hamid, Restorative Justice volunteer

The day started with…
  
A shower and some breakfast. Then I check on any referral forms I have been sent and familiarise myself with the details before driving to my full-time job in the refuge. 
  
I’m responsible for…
  
Helping the restorative justice team, so this is dealing with low level anti-social behaviour, harassment and neighbour disputes. We intervene when there is a dispute of some sort and try to help everyone concerned to overcome the issues. 
  
I joined up…
  
In March because I have a passion for helping people. I’ve spent over six years working at a women’s refuge helping victims of domestic abuse and I thought I’d be able use the skills I have developed doing that to help other people. I’m good at giving people a listening ear and consider myself to be a good mediator. I can see that there’s two sides to a story and I use this to help people overcome their differences. I’m emotionally intelligent and therefore I’m able to empathise with their situation. Not everyone can be helped, but the majority of them welcome the interventions. 
  
The department is… 
  
Working hard to support the force in dealing with community issues. This year has been anything but normal with CoVID and I think I joined just at the right time. Anti-social behaviour and crime rates had been rising because people were at home in lockdown instead of going to work or out socialising. People might not have seen their neighbours much before because they were out at work all day and then were busy during the evening. And then suddenly, everything closed down and people found themselves stuck at home, seeing their neighbours more often and letting small petty things escalate out of control. And then they were calling the police. This is where we come in. We free the officers up by spending time with the members of the community to try and resolve some of the issues they have. 
  
I got here…
  
Because I wanted a new challenge and I love helping people. I had been working at the refuge for over six years and really enjoyed making a difference but I wanted to do some voluntary work. So I looked at the force’s website to see what volunteering opportunities there were and saw openings with restorative justice. I’m hoping that all the valuable experience that I have gained will help me get into policing. I’d love to become a police officer and help those affected by crime. 
  
My typical day…
  
Is supporting vulnerable women through my full-time job at the refuge and then helping out members of the community through my voluntary work. I do this for about three or four hours every week, picking up cases that have been referred by the police or housing officers and setting up meetings.  At the moment these are just phone calls. But I talk through issues with everyone involved and help them to resolve it. Not all of them want to be helped but we do end up making a difference to a huge majority of the people we work with. Just offering a non-judgemental ear to people makes a difference. 
  
My most memorable moment… 
  
Would definitely be anytime when I have helped people resolve their ongoing issues to move forward peacefully.  It gives me satisfaction and keeps me motivated. 
  
The best part of the job… 
  
Is being able to make a difference. I think being a support worker at the refuge has benefitted me a lot as I was able to transfer some of my skills and put them into place for Restorative Justice. Overall, my role as a volunteer has helped my growth, confidence and has given me a purpose. 
  
The worst part of the job… 
  
Is when two parties refuse to take responsibility for their actions, blame one another and refuse help. I find it frustrating.  
  
If I didn’t do this job I’d…
  
Not have gained the valuable experience of tackling anti-social behaviour or gaining an insight into how much an effective tool restorative justice is. 

*Click here to find out more about volunteering for us.

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