Preamble

This is a general version of the European Forum for Restorative Justice’s (EFRJ) call for stories and testimonials shared with members and other partners. It is created to outline the general framework of the campaign, but in most cases it should be translated to the local language and adapted to the context. Each adapted version should be submitted to the EFRJ Secretariat for approval before sharing it with third parties. Please submit your adapted version to: balint.juhasz@euforumrj.org If it suits better the context, the call maybe also shared through an oral explanation. In any case the official EFRJ consent form (in English) has to be signed by the contributing participant(s).

Lee Anderson's artwork

1. Introduction

In 2020, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the EFRJ launches a call for stories and testimonials from individuals who participated in a restorative process (victim-offender mediation, restorative conferencing, peace-making circle, etc.) and are willing to share their experiences in any way. These individuals include victims, survivors, perpetrators of harm, family and community members affected by the harm within and beyond cases of criminal justice, but also practitioners facilitating restorative processes (e.g. victim-offender mediators) and other professionals who participated in a restorative encounter. The purpose of the campaign is to bring to light experiences that can raise awareness about restorative justice through more accessible and personal information. For the collection of stories we ask the assistance of mediators and other professionals working in a restorative way with people who experienced harm. The collection period of the campaign runs between 4 May - 1 October (extended). 

2. Ways to participate

One can share her/his experience about harm and a restorative process in multiple ways, and it is up to the individuals which of these they choose: 

A) Participating anonymously through a written account. (In case it is easier, this can be audio-recorded by a mediator/facilitator and typed later.) If the person chooses to take part anonymously we guarantee that they will remain anonymous and any piece of identifying information will be altered. 

B) Participating with first name or full name in a written way. (In case it is easier, this can be audio-recorded by a mediator / facilitator and typed later.) Participants can choose to which degree they want to share publicly any information about themselves. We want to give space to those ones who wish to come forward publicly and stand behind their story with their names. Such information will be shared publicly only when it bears the consent of all affected parties. (E.g. an offender might want to give a public testimonial, but the victim does not consent. In this cases we will not publish any information that might lead to the identification of the victim.) 

C) Participating in a photo / video  / podcast campaign. For this purpose we are looking for individuals affected by harm and injustices who consent to share (a part) of their story publicly through a video, or audio interview or a photo taken of them. To such cases the same principles apply as for those who are open to share their stories in an identified way (see point B). In special cases  - with the consent of the participant - the EFRJ may choose to make an anonymised video or audio interview. In these cases the recording will manipulated in a way that the interviewee will not be recognisable.

Overview about the different ways to participate (all voluntary):
 

Anonymously 

Open to be identified publicly

Written story / testimonial 

yes

yes, only above 18, with consent of all affected parties

Video-recorded testimonial

yes

yes, only above 18, with consent of all affected parties

Photo (if possible taken by a commissioned photograph) 

yes, only above 18, with consent of all affected parties

Audio-recorded interview / testimonial (podcast)

yes

yes, only above 18, with consent of all affected parties

Minors can only participate in the campaign with parental or guardian consent (in addition to their own consent) and only anonymously. 

Any individual who participates in the campaign is asked to fill out a consent form including details on the campaign and explanations on how the EFRJ protects the rights of any of the contributors (and of those who are affected by the shared information).

Lee Anderson's artwork

3. The Collection Period

The campaign to collect personal stories starts on 4 May and ends on 1 October 2020. In this period the testimonials are written down by the participants or recorded by mediators of whom they are clients of. 

Participants who gave consent to be interviewed or photographed will be contacted by the EFRJ Secretariat (in English) or, if needed, by a local EFRJ member (in their own language).

4. Assistance of mediators and other professionals

Recognising that respective cases are highly sensitive and affected individuals are typically very vulnerable, we seek the assistance of professionals handling these cases. They know the best their clients and their interests, and they know the best when and how to offer them the opportunity to participate in this campaign. We rely on our members in this campaign and also trust their experience to judge which of their clients can be consulted with this offer. 

We also welcome accounts from professionals about their own experiences in remarkable restorative cases. 

5. Target Groups

Any individual who participated in a restorative process, such as: 

  • victims and survivors
  • perpetrators of harm
  • relatives, community members and other supporters
  • mediators and other restorative justice facilitators 
  • authorities and justice professionals (e.g. prison staff, law enforcement, judiciary)
  • other professionals (e.g. victim support, psychologists, educators, social workers)

The harm dealt with in the restorative justice process can be the consequence of a criminal act or a serious offence. The restorative justice experience can be part of the criminal justice process or delivered beyond criminal justice.

The following types are in the scope of this campaign. However, this is not an exclusive list: 

  • Assault
  • Robbery
  •  Murder
  • Homicide
  • Manslaughter
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Acts of violent extremism
  • Rape
  • Sexual offences
  • Domestic Violence 
  • Hate crime
  • Traffic accidents
  • Politically or ideologically motivated violence 
Lee Anderson's artwork

6. Area of interest

We are interested in any information an individual would like to share related to her/his experience of harm and the restorative process aiming to repair this harm or/and to make amends. These accounts should rely on the participating individual’s perspective and should give priority to their own narrative. People experience such situations very differently and account about them in varying ways. Different elements of the stories might be important to different people, and they might want to highlight different aspects of their experiences. These differences should be respected. However, we provide a few general questions that can help to focus participants’ testimonials: 

  • What was the harm you experienced / caused? 
  • How did you hear about restorative justice / conferencing / etc.?
  • Why did you choose to take part in it? 
  • How did you feel/ what did you think just before the encounter?
  • What happened during the restorative process? 
  • How did the restorative process affect you and your relation to the harm your experienced or caused?
  • How much time passed since the encounter, what happened after and how are you since then?
  • Would you recommend a restorative process for other affected people? Why? 
  • etc. 

7. Length

We do not set extent of the given accounts. Anything can be valuable from a few words to a few thousand words. Individuals should share their stories as detailed as they find it to be relevant and important. 

Lee Anderson's artwork

8. Language

We encourage to write down or to record stories in the native language of the participants. The EFRJ will find a translator within its membership. If the participants agree, the testimony can be disseminated by the EFRJ in original language as well.

9. The outcomes

The EFRJ plans to use the shared stories in the following ways (note: in the consent form, participants will be able to express if they prefer their story not to be shared in any of these formats/ settings): 

  • Publish the testimony/story in its entirety or partially on the EFRJ website and/or other publications (such as newsflashes, newsletters, information videos, brochures, handouts, policy papers, research summaries, thematic briefs, reports) or in public presentations (such as conferences or webinars).
  • Publish podcasts and/or video-interviews on the EFRJ media channels (such as Vimeo). 
  • Publish and/or print photographs (e.g. as posters with short quotes added to the images or published along the photos). 
  • Print shorts quotes on materials used as gifts or to collect donations (e.g. t-shirts, notebooks).

The EFRJ reserves the right to publish only a selected number of stories and to shorten these accounts or to use only quotes from them. All participants will be contacted to give their final consent on how their story (i.e. text, quote, photo, video, etc.) will be used. 

Lee Anderson's artwork

10. Submission & contact

Deadline for submitting stories: 1 October 2020. 

To submit a story, or for further details about the call and related questions please contact: Bálint Juhász, EFRJ Training and Communication Officer balint.juhasz@euforumrj.org

 

 

This call was illustrated by Lee Anderson's artwork created for the European Forum for Restorative Justice based on her experiences on our 10th International Conference in Tirana (2018).