"It is time to be less inward looking and more engaged in supporting people to establish and maintain just relations with each other"
As we are getting more and more busy with the upcoming projects of the new year, we wanted to stop for a moment and ask a couple of key questions from Tim Chapman, the Chair of the European Forum for Restorative Justice's (EFRJ) Board. This will be a special year with our international conference in Sassari (Italy) and the organisation's 20th anniversary celebrations ahead. We were interested what does he identify as key challenges of the year, and what are the main take-aways from the EFRJ's 20 years of experience.
This year has a special feature for us: it is the 20th anniversary of the organisation. You mentioned earlier, that we should not merely use the anniversary to celebrate ourselves, but as an opportunity to put important issues in the spotlight. What opportunity does this anniversary mean in the life of the EFRJ?
I believe that the 20th anniversary means that we have come of age. We have spent 20 years developing the field of restorative justice in Europe and we have made great progress. I think that every European country is engaged in implementing restorative justice in some form. We now need to go out into society and engage radically in the reality of the lives of citizens. We need to see and understand the harm and pain experienced by people and offer realistic and effective means of restoration that can undo injustice and alleviate suffering. In other words, it is time to be less inward looking and more engaged in supporting people to establish and maintain just relations with each other.
And what could be the significance of this moment for the restorative movement?
The movement needs to ask itself: How do we offer high quality restorative processes while avoiding becoming another professional elite?