The Collective Healing And Transformation (CHAT) Project provides community based restorative justice to people impacted by interpersonal violence. Restorative justice brings together all people impacted by violence- those harmed, those who have caused harm, family, friends, children, and other affected community members- in a process that repairs harm and rebuilds relationships. We come together in the belief that we as a community can address, resolve and prevent the harm of domestic violence and sexual assault through processes supported by the community and carried out by those most impacted by violence.
Current advocacy responses to interpersonal violence have limitations. The options available to survivors are blunt law enforcement response, lengthy individual therapy that may not provide answers, or permanent separation (e.g., DV shelters or divorce). Many programs serve survivors independently, without including their essential support system and few, if any, provide the possibility for safe and facilitate dialogue with a person using violence. These responses do not meet the needs of many survivors, particularly in marginalized communities.
A community based model means participation is:
- Voluntary– no one is mandated to participate in this process; all participation is voluntary throughout.
- Confidential– CHAT will not disclose any information to outside entities or individuals without the explicit consent of participants.
- Flexible– CHAT honors the wisdom of people impacted by violence to know what their needs are to address harm.
- Open to all– CHAT encourages all to participate who are willing, including children, friends, other family members, and those who have caused harm.
The CHAT Project uses a whole-family approach to address interpersonal violence and seeks to engage all people who have been impacted by violence. We are a collaborative model, bringing together community members, restorative and transformative justice advisors, and non-profit experts in the domestic and sexual violence field to expand restorative responses in Contra Costa County and the greater Bay Area.