Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social, or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters although it can be provided by peers without training.
Peer support is distinct from other forms of support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: he or she has "been there, done that" and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation. For individuals who have experienced loss or trauma, it has been demonstrated that interacting with others who have undergone and survived similar loss or trauma can establish a sense of normalcy and assist with emotional healing.
Healing Justice creates opportunities for peer support in a variety of ways. One is through our retreats, during which intensive peer support occurs over a period of two days. Another is through our monthly online circles. A third is direct peer-to-peer support between individuals who have common experiences. For individualized peer-to-peer support we assign a trained peer supporter to provide understanding and help to another crime survivor, crime victim family member, exonerated individual, or exoneree family member.