Graffitti detail on the wall of Belfast

Belfast 2014

8th international EFRJ conference 

Belfast poster

Beyond Crime: Pathways to Desistance, Social Justice & Peacebuilding

Belfast, 11–14 June 2014


  • Shadd Maruna - Queen’s University Belfast
  • Joanna Shapland - University of Sheffield
  • Tove Malloy - Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Brunilda Pali - Researcher at the Catholic University of Leuven
  • John Braithwaite - Australian National University
  • Kieran McEvoy - Queen’s University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster 


  • Desistance – Do RJ experiences help offenders to desist from crime? And if so, how does RJ as an “alternative” approach to crime control and punishment relate to current criminal justice policies and punishment models where risk assessment and evidence-based approaches prevail?  RJ – as a positive and forward-looking approach – is often linked to the development of the Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation. To what extent do RJ and desistance principles permeate in the work of prison officers and in probation work? Papers and workshops that look at these developments are welcomed.
  • Social Justice – How can RJ contribute to social justice, especially in an increasingly intercultural society? RJ is often said to be limited in addressing underlying causes of crime. By simply holding offenders accountable for the wrongdoings RJ overlooks the structural inequalities and fails to address a broader network of responsibilities. For RJ interventions to be meaningful and sustainable new alliances with a wider range of organisations and social institutions are needed. The workshops under this theme are invited to re-think, and probably to establish, the relation between restorative justice and social justice.
  • Peacebuilding – The central aim of this theme is to look at the value of RJ principles in the agenda of peacebuilding in divided, transitional, and post-conflict societies. Since several decades many countries emerging from conflict have opted for so-called transitional justice mechanisms to help and deal with their past. Gradually also RJ principles became introduced into several of these mechanisms. Papers and workshops on innovative developments or creative applications of RJ in peacebuilding settings are welcomed.

Conference booklet

Booklet 8th international EFRJ conference "Desistance, Social Justice & Peacebuilding"

Programme with abstracts and introductions to the speeches and workshops

During our conference a film team directed by the Foresee Research Group (Hungary) has been interviewing people that participated in the conference. We are grateful to Borbála Fellegi (director and interviewer) and Gyula Galyas (filmmaker and technician) for the beautiful short film they have produced for the European Forum for Restorative Justice. It is a wonderful summary of the 3 unforgettable days in Belfast, including short interviews of key persons (John Braithwaite, Ivo Aertsen, Brunilda Pali, Joanna Shapland, Shadd Maruna, and many others), some footage on the registration, the workshops, and the restorative justice award.

They talk about us!

Two articles on the conference in Belfast have been published in the German TOA-magazine of the Servicebüro für Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich und Konfliktschlichtung (p.33-36). The first one is a translation into German from Eric Wiersma’s “Impressions of the Eighth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice ‘Beyond Crime: Pathways to Desistance, Social Justice and Peacebuilding’ Belfast, 11–14 June 2014“, published in the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) Newsletter in September 2014. The second one are the impressions of the EFRJ member Frauke Petzold (in German only).

An other article on the potentials of restorative justice for desistance, social justice and peacebuilding has been published on 31 October 2014 on the academic journal Panopticon (in Dutch only). The article is a reflection of the 8th International Conference held by the EFRJ in Belfast on 11-14 June 2014. The article has been written by our members Tinneke Van Camp, Bart Claes and Sofie Van Roeyen. The Dutch title is: “Van herstelrecht naar desistance, sociale rechtvaardigheid en vredesopbouw. Reflecties bij het 8ste internationaal congres van het European Forum for Restorative Justice“.

Fringe meeting “Developing Restorative Approaches in Schools and other Educational Settings”

During the conference period, a fringe meeting organised by the European Circle for Restorative Educators and chaired by Belinda Hopkins was held in Belfast the 12th June 2014.