On 12 December 2019, the annual lecture of the International Journal of Restorative Justice was beheld during the 32nd Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology Annual Conference (ANZSOC) conference in Perth, Australia.
2019 IJRJ lecture was on “The Indecent Demands of Accountability for Young People in Restorative Justice” by Dr William R. Wood (School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Australia). It will be introduced by European Forum for Restorative Justice founder Ivo Aertsen (editor-in chief) and chaired by Estelle Zinsstag (managing editor). The lecture was published in the issue (3)1, 2019 of the IJRJ.
Our policy officer, Laura Hein attended the High Level Experts’ meeting: What future for victims’ right? organised by the European Commission and the Finnish Presidency to define priorities for the upcoming term of the Commission in the area of victims’ rights with a special focus on differentiating between victims of different types of crimes (gender-based violence, victims of terrorism and victims of trafficking in human beings).
The European Forum for Restorative Justice contributes to the meeting along experts from the Member States providing assistance for victims of crime, victims’ and experts’ organisations and it draws on recommendations from several recent reports on victims’ rights.
The emeritus ceremony prof. dr. Ivo Aertsen, founder of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ), took place in Heverlee on 21 October.
Our director Edit Törzs presented during the ceremony and several EFRJ members attended the event; among others, Kristel Buntinx, Daniel Achutti, Gema Varona Martínez, Claudia Mazzucato, Katrien Lauwaert presented.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) Policy Officer, Laura Hein attended the meeting of the Radicalisation Awareness Network – RAN. This was set up by the European Commission as an EU-wide umbrella network of practitioners engaged to prevent and counter radicalisation to violent extremism. The event allowed practitioners from all over the EU to gather and discuss persisting, new or shifting challenges in the field of radicalisation. As of 2020, changes will take place in the set-up and implementation of the RAN and its activities. Practitioners and international organisations as the EFRJ were invited to help to draw the path to be followed from 2020 onwards by discussing, sharing and expressing ideas on relevant themes and topics in the field of prevention and countering of violent extremism (P-CVE).
This RAN Plenary was a further occasion for the EFRJ to strengthen the collaboration with RAN and to promote restorative justice approaches in addressing violent extremisms.
Our policy officer Laura Hein attended the annual roundtable organised by VSE- Victim Support Europe, to bring together NGOs working in the field of criminal justice and supporting different type of vulnerable groups.
Our director Edit Torzs and board member Lars Otto Justad presented during the international conference “Visegrad Group 1989 – 2019: On the Road to restorative justice?” (Prague, 3 October), organised by our organisational member the Czech Mediation Service.
The conference provided for an expert platform for the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) to discuss the status quo, challenges and advancements related to the development of restorative justice in Europe and in the V4 region in the last 30 years.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice team was present to give a welcome speech, a presentation on restorative justice developments in Europe (including the recent CoE recommendation and other innovative developments and common challenges in Europe) and workshop on access to restorative justice.
European Forum for Restorative Justice members Kerry Clamp and Estelle Zinsstag organized the newly formed European Society of Criminology (ESC) ‘Working Group of Restorative Justice’.
At this initial meeting, Kerry and Estelle, chairs of this working group, proposed to discuss how the group might best be facilitated to:
- Promote communication between members
- Organise thematic sessions at ESC conferences
- Establish a cross-national research network and promote the work that we are doing
- Develop terms for an award for outstanding research in the RJ field.
Since the adoption of the UN Basic principles on restorative justice in 2002 the field has considerably evolved and developed. Recognising this development the ECOSOC initiated few years ago the review of the Basic principles and of the UN Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes.
Tim Chapman, Annemieke Wolthuis and Edit Törzs, as well as many European Forum for Restorative Justice members, participated on a 3 days Expert Group Meeting conveyed by the UNODC – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, with the support of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) in Bangkok (17-19 June) reviewing a new draft of the Handbook, putting more focus on victims, serious crime and indigenous justice.
Our colleague Emanuela Biffi represented the European Forum for Restorative Justice in the meeting of the RAN RVT (Radicalization Awareness Network – Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism) Working Group.
On 20-21 June in Bilbao, RAN organised a meeting on the theme of “How can victims of terrorism contribute to social cohesion after a period of violence“. The meeting was aimed at identifying how victims’ testimonies can support the prevention of further violence and improve social cohesion in countries where periods of violence have occurred. Invited guests were representatives of victims organisations, victims of terrorism (of recent and older attacks), experts. After the meeting, an ex post paper provided practical guidelines on how victims can improve social cohesion including practices for inspiration on how victims supported the improvement of social cohesion in different countries.
Restorative justice was one of the topics addressed for the discussion on social cohesion and the possible roles of victims in this process. Indeed the event explored and identify possible fields to work on, to encourage the involvement of victims to promote social cohesion. Among others:
- Communication and the cooperation with mainstream media and social media for sharing testimonies;
- Policy and the collaboration with local authorities and national and regional governments for creating memorial spaces and appropriate regulations;
- Community and the use of arts and culture for reconstructing society;
- Other initiatives, such as restorative justice processes involving all parties involved in the suffering.
Among the speakers, the European Forum for Restorative Justice chair Tim Chapman talked about “Activating Community: A Restorative Response to Intercultural Conflict” and Borbála Fellegi (founder and director of our Hungarian organisational member Foresee Research Group) talked about “A Prelude to Resilience: Rebuilding Trust in Fragmented Communities”.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice was partner in the organisation of the regional conference on restorative justice organised in Tbilisi, Georgia on 15-16 April 2019. The key goal of this event was to promote application of restorative justice mechanisms in criminal justice for both juveniles and adults.
This event was one of the activities of the EU funded project “EU4Justice: Judiciary Support Project”, which has the overall objective to assist with ensuring the independence, efficiency, impartiality and professionalism of the judiciary. One of the key priorities of the project was to support application of restorative justice mechanisms in Georgia.
The conference aimed at bringing together about 80-100 participants from the region, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, including policymakers, legislators and practitioners of criminal justice institutions. The focus was on different aspects relevant for the implementation of restorative justice, from legal instruments to actual practices to specific attention to cases involving vulnerable groups (e.g. children, victims of domestic violence) or in specific settings (e.g. prisons, schools).
Among the experts, several of our Board members took part in the programme: Tim Chapman (Northern Ireland), Annemieke Wolthuis (The Netherlands), Roberto Moreno (Basque Country), Aarne Kinnunen (Finland), and Lars Otto Justad (Norway).
A seminar on restorative justice responses to environmental harm and ecocide at the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology brought together scholars, mediators and activists, including our dears John Braithwaite, Claudia Mazzucato, Katrien Lauwaert, and Board member Brunilda Pali.
Many European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) members attended the two day workshop “Art in prisons: talking restorative justice through artistic and narrative projects” organised by the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Oñati, Basque country, 4-5 April). The EFRJ team was represented by Emanuela Biffi, Roberto Moreno, Aikaterina Soulou and Annemieke Wolthuis.
11 March 2019 marked the 15th European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism, established to commemorate all victims of terror following the 2004 Madrid bombings. Since then, Europe has experienced several waves of terrorism and the European Union’s policy response has evolved over the years.
In this paper prepared during the European Youth Event 2018 you can read the results of more than 15 years of EU counter-terrorism action. Another document on victims of terrorism has been prepared for Members and staff of the European Parliament as background material to assist them in their parliamentary work. “Is there still room for further progress?”: maybe tackling the social conditions encouraging violent extremism, like inequality, poverty, urban segregation, family instability, etc.
Starting from the roundabout Merode metro station, V-Europe (association pour les victimes de terrorisme) and the White March Committee organised a march to remember all victims of terrorism.
Another event took place at the Centre Albert Borschette in Brussels and brought together victims of terrorism, victim associations and first responders, together with European and Member States’ representatives, to share their stories and experiences.
Also the European Forum for Restorative Justice staff participated in this memorial day.
The Poznańskie Centrum Mediacji (Poznan Mediation Centre) organises the conference: “Mediation as a part of Civil Dialogue” (Poznan, 13 December). This one day event, free of charge, includes plenary sessions in the morning and workshops in the afternoon. It brought together about hundred participants, including mediators, lawyers, NGOs, municipalities, students at the law faculty, the wider public and media.
Among the plenary speakers and workshop leaders, there was a member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice Board, Lars Otto Justad, advisor for the national mediation service Konfliktraadet in Norway, who will present on access to restorative justice, including also information on international legal instruments such as the Victims’ Directive and the most recent Council of Europe Recommendation on restorative justice in criminal matters.
The conference’s aim was to initiate a discussion merging on the idea of mediation as a civil right and the idea of restorative justice executed by trial’s parties bringing together theoretical arguments and examples of good practices. The conference took a closer look at mediation practices in Europe, where mediation may be a right for the parties in all stages of criminal justice procedures. The afternoon session was an addition to the discussion with a series of practical workshops.
European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) staff member Emanuela Biffi gave a restorative justice class to the students following the course on restorative justice delivered by prof. Ivo Aertsen as part of the Master programme in criminology at KU Leuven (20 November, 9-11 hours, College DV3).
The class focused on access to (restorative) justice, in particular on all different agencies and factors contributing to victims and offenders being informed about and actually initiate a restorative justice process. For this, Emanuela used the findings of two EU funded projects coordinated by the EFRJ in the past, “Building social support for RJ” and “Accessibility and initiation for RJ“.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) director Edit Torzs attended the International Conference ‘One safe place for Hope and Empowerment‘ on the development of a multidisciplinary approach of gender-based violence and domestic violence in a Family Justice Center (Paris, 15-16 November).
The event was organized by the European Family Justice Center Alliance (EFJCA), the Family Justice Center “Maison des Femmes” Paris France and the Kering Foundation. It brought together professionals from the field, also to listen survivors’ experiences through videos.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) chair Tim Chapman was one of the international speakers at the 17th Forum for Victim Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice organised by our organisational member TOA (Berlin 7-9 November). The main theme is “The strength of those involved: Self-determination instead of neediness”.
The programme includes an English lecture from Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth (Netherlands): “Forgiveness: The Healing gift that you give to yourself” and English workshops from:
- Petra Sampers (Belgium): “Self-determination in VOM with the focus of cases of serious crime”
- Belinda Hopkins (UK) & Oliver Jacob (Germany): “Restorative practice in schools”
- Tim Chapman (Northern Ireland ): “EFRJ Values and Standards for restorative justice”
More info (in German only) here.
Our Board members Patrizia Patrizi (Sassari University) and Brunilda Pali (KU Leuven) presented at the International Conference “Restorative Approach and Social Innovation: From Theoretical Grounds to Sustainable Practices” (7-8 November 2018 at the University of Padova, Italy).
Among the keynote speakers there were the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) founder Prof. Ivo Aertsen and the current Secretary of the EFRJ Board Brunilda Pali, both representing from the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology. Brunilda’s presentation was entitled: “The restorative imagination: Claiming our right and nourishing our power to imagine a different justice”.
The Swiss Forum for Restorative Justice, organisational member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ), organised a restorative justice event in Lugano (Ticino, Switzerland) on 5 November 2018. The event, in Italian, was entitled: Giustizia riparativa: realtà e prospettive per la Svizzera.
Among the speakers, Prof. Grazia Mannozzi, director of CESGREM, the study center on restorative justice and mediation at University of Insubria, Como, Italy, and Claudia Christen-Schneider, president of the Swiss Forum for Restorative Justice and new member of the editorial committee of the EFRJ Newsletter.
Emanuela Biffi attended the event on behalf of the EFRJ.
Two European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) Board members presented at the conference ““Effective and Humane”: Restorative and Māori Justice Approaches to the Prison Crisis” (Wellington, New Zealand 23-25 October).
Among the plenary speakers, you can find the chair of the EFRJ Board, Tim Chapman (Northern Ireland), who talked about restorative justice in prisons during the morning session on 25 October.
The treasurer of the EFRJ Board, Bart Claes (Belgium), presented in two workshop sessions:
- “How restorative justice practices in prison can promote desistance from crime. Or does it?” (24 October at 2:25 pm)
- “Beyond the prison crisis. Twenty years of Belgian restorative prisons” (25 October at 2:30 pm)
Our Board member Roberto Moreno was one of the invited experts for the activity “Role of the Work Team Officers”, part of the EU funded twinning project “Strengthening Victims Rights in Criminal Justice System“. Because of his knowledge and experience in the victim support system of the Basque Country, Roberto gave advise on a new model for victims assistance in Turkey.
For this, a 5-day workshop has been organised in Turkey on 22-26 October 2018 in which Roberto and the other invited experts proposed the concrete competences of the social workers, psychologists, pedagogues and juridical advisers which worked in the provincial victim support units. The objective of this activity is to define the role and actions of these professionals and elaborate a guideline on the approach to attend victims to be used by the civil servants and services providers in contact with victims of crimes.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) team attended the 18th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology “Crimes Against Humans and Crimes Against Humanity: Implications for Modern Criminology” (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 29 August- 1 September 2018).
The 2018 Annual Lecture of the International Journal of Restorative Justice was held during the conference. The lecture “Time for a Rethink: Victims and Restorative Justice” was given by Prof. Antony Pemberton from the International Victimology Institute Tilburg.
The chair and vice-chair of the European Forum for Restorative Justice Board, Tim Chapman (Northern Ireland) and Annemieke Wolthuis (The Netherlands), attended the 2018 World Congress on Justice for Children “Strengthening Justice Systems for Children: Challenges, including disengagement from violent extremism” (UNESCO House, Paris, 28-30 May 2018). Both were actively engaged in the programme, either as workshop leaders or as chairs of the restorative justice plenary session.
Prof Ivo Aertsen (KU Leuven) and the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) Executive Director Edit Törzs attended the meeting of the Council of Europe PC-CP (Council for Penological Co-operation) in Strasbourg.
The PC-CP was drafting a new recommendation on restorative justice in criminal matters, which might be the most advanced international document on the restorative justice field.
The Asia-Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice (APFRJ) met on 13 July in Cairns, during the conference organised by the Asian Criminological Society (10-13 July).
The APFRJ and the European Forum for Restorative Justice have a well-established cooperation. In 2016 we organised an inter-regional seminar in Istanbul ‘The East meeting the West‘ (see more information below) which has been postponed for unforeseen circumstances.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM) on Access to Justice as a Key Element of the Rule of Law, was scheduled for 16-17 November 2017 in Hofburg, Vienna (the same event was originally scheduled on 17-18 July 2017). This SHDM focused on the following key areas:
1) Current Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Area of Access to Justice
2) Access to Justice and Conflict Prevention
3) Gender, Diversity and Access to Justice
This was a high level formal meeting including both diplomatic representatives of OSCE participating States as well as representatives from civil society organizations across the OSCE region. Following the introductory presentations, participating State delegations and civil society organizations had the chance to take the floor and give their own statements on the session.
Dr. Borbala Fellegi, founder and director of the Foresee Research Group (Hungary), organisational member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ), represented the EFRJ on this event. Fellegi’s presentation came at the start of Session I: Current Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Area of Access to Justice. She presented restorative justice as one of the possible means of overcoming barriers in access to justice, bringing in her extensive professional experience.
On 14 June, the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) has been invited to participate in the workshop on the protection and support for victims of elder abuse organised by the AGE Platform Europe. The event has been organised to celebrate the 12th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
The workshop gathered together about 20 participants from victim support organisations, researchers and representatives of the European Commission and Council of Europe with the aim to identify a set of recommendations for victim support organisations to provide better services to older persons who suffered abuse and violence and to further contribute to the implementation of the Victims Directive 2012.
The EFRJ represented by Emanuela Biffi in the afternoon session entitled ‘Interventions to support and protect victims of elder abuse: advantages and limits’. The morning session was dedicated instead to the identification of specific needs and available rights to this specific group on vulnerable victims.
The 2017 Annual Lecture of the ‘Restorative Justice: An International Journal‘ (RJIJ) took place in Canoas (Brazil) on Friday 2 June. The lecture, entitled ‘Restorative justice and the criminal justice system: Challenges and possibilities for Brazil and Latin America‘, was delivered by Prof. Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade and introduced by Prof. Ivo Aertsen from KU Leuven (editor in chief of RJIJ, former chair of the European Forum for Restorative Justice Board).
Our organisational member French Institute for Restorative Justice (IFJR) organised the conference "Restorative justice in action(s): French practices and innovations. An international comparative perspective" in Paris on 18-19 January 2017. The conference was organised in partnership with the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) and INAVEM and it addresses French professionals willing to learn more about the practical implementation of restorative justice in France as well as international professionals who wish to discover how France developed in this field in the past years.
Find more information here. Among others, the EFRJ director Edit Törzs presented on the 2nd day’s plenaries. The EFRJ also had an information desk, for those ones interested to know more about our work.
A journalist of TV5Monde interviewed several plenary speakers that presented at this conference. Among others, this article includes reflections from Mrs Törzs and from Prof. Ivo Aertsen, one of the founders of the EFRJ.
The editorial board of the ‘Restorative Justice: An International Journal‘ (RJIJ)organised the 2016 RJIJ Annual Lecture in Milan on 12 October. The lecture was delivered by Prof. John Braithwaite on ‘Restorative justice along the Silk Road: Comparative lessons from Europe to Asia on reconciliation, forgiveness and peace‘.
The event was organised in partnership with the European Forum for Restorative Justice and the Asia Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice and it was hosted at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, as a fringe event of the Victims & Corporations conference.
A joint initiative of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) and the Asia Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice, with the support of Istanbul Bilgi University.
Today, restorative justice is a promising movement worldwide. It offers the perspective of a fundamentally new approach to crime and injustices, taking the lifeworld, the needs and the capabilities of people and communities as starting point. Restorative justice aims at contributing to a more inclusive and more just environment, where also structural causes of inequalities at societal level are addressed. This encompassing approach is a challenge, for which the knowledge, experience and wisdom from different parts of the world are highly needed. There is not just one ideal model of restorative justice, and we should learn from each other’s regions, cultures and particularities in order to further develop our ideas on what restorative justice can mean as a truly innovative, global response to different types of crimes under very different circumstances. Initiating a dialogue on restorative justice ideas and experiences between very different regions will improve not only our understanding of the potential of restorative justice and its common elements and values, but will also enhance the quality of our daily work, be it as practitioner, policy maker or researcher active in this field.
Therefore, the EFRJ and the Asia Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice have taken the initiative to organise an inter-regional seminar to make such an exchange possible. We proposed to meet in Istanbul, where we can find each other on the borders of the Bosporus. We aimed at bringing together a group of no more than 50 persons (25 from the East, 25 from the West), in order to allow for in-depth discussions at a seminar of three days. Participants would come from the field of practice, research or policy making, but should be actively involved as experts in Restorative Justice related matters. Active contribution during the seminar were expected, in the form of a paper presentation or active participation in discussions. The following – non exhaustive – list of topics were relevant, always against an international background:
- The perception of crime and the experiences of injustices in specific cultural, political and economic contexts;
- The impact of large scale national or dense city populations when developing and implementing Restorative Justice programmes;
- Theoretical (interdisciplinary) approaches and new theoretical insights of Restorative Justice;
- Existing and emerging models in Restorative Justice practice;
- The significance and role of traditional ways in dealing with conflict;
- The role of religion in the development of Restorative Justice;
- The influence of authoritarian state structures and states in transition;
- The position of women in Restorative Justice processes;
- The organisation of Restorative Justice programmes at the local level;
- The role and meaning of community and civil society, and volunteers in developing and applying Restorative Justice;
- Recruitment, accreditation, training and coaching of Restorative Justice practitioners;
- The role of Restorative Justice legislation and policy making at the national, European and international level (do we need international regulation or guidelines?);
- Monitoring, evaluation and research of Restorative Justice practices and their implementation;
- The future of international cooperation;
The Confederation of European Probation (CEP) and the Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic jointly organised a conference on the use of restorative justice during probation, the use of mediation between offender and victim during the criminal proceeding and counselling, and the support and cooperation for the victim within the probation service (23-25 September 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic).
The CEP conference’s theme was related to one of the latest EU-funded projects coordinated by the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) between 2012 and 2014, entitled ‘Desistance and Restorative Justice: mechanisms for desisting from crime within restorative justice practices‘. Its research coordinator, Dr Katrien Lauwaert, participated in this conference to present her research findings.
Also Prof. Ivo Aertsen, founder of the EFRJ, presented on ‘The role of the community in probation and restorative justice: opportunities and challenges’.
The seminar was opened by Dr. Brian Steels, who is the director of the Asia Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice and coordinator of the Institute for Restorative Justice & Penal Reform in Australia. Dr. Steels is also a researcher at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University. He has a special interest in Indigenous peoples throughout the region including Japan, Taiwan, China and India. Within Australia his experience in sentencing circles, family conferencing and healing ceremonies as well as his counseling work among Aboriginal communities is important.
He will gave attendees the opportunity to explore the values and challenges of restorative justice practices in the Asian Pacific region, both inside and outside the criminal justice system. From Puktoon Jirga’s to India’s Panchayats, and from the outback of Australia to the streets of Tokyo, restorative justice provides unique responses to diverse needs, taking into consideration issues of gender, power, prestige and positions in society.
In the second presentation Xiaoyu Yuan, PhD student at LINC, gave a closer perspective on restorative justice in the Chinese context. One interesting point of this topic was the compatibility of Chinese legal culture with restorative justice principles and values. The presentation specifically focused on the past and current restorative practices in the Chinese justice system.