i-RESTORE 2.0: Accessible Quality Restorative Justice processes for children in contact with the law in Europe
Summary: It is of crucial relevance, exploring the complementary country experiences, to address the issue of accessibility of restorative justice processes for children by using innovative and practical solutions, in face to face as well as online environments, while being open to integrate the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic. i-RESTORE 2.0 is proposing to do this by actively engaging families, practitioners, policy makers, victim support organisations and the media in sharing knowledge, as well as by co-designing with children creative and digital tools and resources that will enhance the experience of children in restorative justice processes.
Partners: Terre des hommes Regional Hub in Hungary, Terre des hommes Hellas, European Forum for Restorative Justice (Belgium), Restorative Justice Netherlands, HALT (Netherlands), and Social Insurance Board (Estonia).
Project coordinator: Terre des hommes Romania
Funding: European Commission, under the JUST Programme
Description: i-RESTORE 2.0 builds on the i-RESTORE project (2019-2021), which focused on promoting the use of restorative justice in cases involving child victims of crime and strengthening the capacities of justice professionals. Based on the results of that project, i-RESTORE 2.0 aims to go a step further and create accessible quality restorative justice processes for child victims and children suspected and/or accused of crime in Europe. In line with the EU Victims’ Rights Strategy, the project aims to empower children, including victims, to express their views about restorative justice through digital and child-led creative approaches; increase awareness of families, practitioners, policy makers and the media on restorative justice for children in criminal proceedings and increase the number of practitioners who can provide child-friendly restorative justice services. The project targets, across Romania, Greece, The Netherlands and Estonia.
Over 24 months, the project proposes a capacity building scheme for professionals, mutual learning events through cross-border twinning arrangements, to empower children to assess restorative justice processes, and to actively engage in discussions key stakeholders who need to be made aware of the role they can play for successful and accessible restorative justice processes with children. Project’s outputs include a digital assessment tool, learnings from the field, a child-led creative resource for practitioners and a how to guide for twinning arrangements for EU countries who wish to enter sustainable partnerships.
In this project, the EFRJ will be an expert partner and provide technical guidance for: the co-design of capacity building programmes (trainings/train the trainers) and advocacy initiatives; the twinning arrangements and mutual learning activities; the identification of restorative justice experts for project’s activities and the dissemination of the projects results through the organisation’s restorative blog. The EFRJ was part of the consortium in i-RESTORE phase 1.
Duration: October 2022 – October 2024
Key themes of the i-RESTORE 2.0 project include:
- Restorative justice with child offenders and child victims in Europe
- Accessibility to quality restorative justice services for children
- Experience sharing among European practitioners
- Building the capacities of national practitioners in Romania, Greece, Estonia and the Netherlands to address issues related to the rights of child victims and children suspects when involved in restorative justice processes
- Empowering children to express themselves and be agents of change in matters which affect them directly relating to reducing reoffending and better protecting the rights of child victims in restorative justice
- Budgeting for restorative justice for children
- Providing for targeted advocacy and awareness-raising opportunities to make accessibility of restorative justice for children a reality
The i-RESTORE 2.0 project aims at answering the following challenges:
- Insufficient knowledge/understanding of practitioners of what restorative justice is and how it can be beneficial
- High turnover of judges and other justice professionals that impacts how restorative a system can be
- Lack of cooperation among key stakeholders and the general belief that restorative justice is a soft response to crime
- Low knowledge level amongst children about the benefits of restorative justice for them and how it could contribute to a feeling of empowerment and sense of agency
- Very different stages of development and understanding of restorative justice in different European countries and a clear interest from practitioners to invest time in mutual learning with practitioners from other countries, in order to better understand tools and processes used with children in restorative justice
- Lack of national policy and legal frameworks in many countries still do not provide restorative justice as an approach to be promoted or at least considered when children are involved
- Need to carry out further advocacy on the rights to access and benefits of restorative justice, to facilitate the creation of an enabling legal and policy environments