To work at the policy level is a core mission of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) with the aim to develop and improve restorative justice legal frame in Europe and beyond. The EFRJ, and its membership, is very active with regards to policy making in Europe at the level of the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).
The EFRJ has provided significant input to the drafting and implementation of the main European and international documents such as the new Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)8 concerning restorative justice in criminal matters, the European Commission's Victims’ Directive (2012/29/EU), the reviewed process of the UN Basic principles on the use of restorative justice programmes in criminal matters (ECOSOC Res. 2000/14) and the UN Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes.
Thanks to our expertise and our strategic location in the heart of the European Union, we are able to contribute to high level policy events in Brussels and to engage in dialogues with EU policy makers, advocating for a more effective and comprehensive EU policy concerning restorative justice.
Beside these consultative roles with European and international bodies, our strategic goal in the coming years is to work more closely with national policy makers to help the better implementation of EU and other international legislation related to restorative justice. In this regard we launched (2018) the European Restorative Justice Policy Network (ERJPN) in order to create a more close link with policy makers and through this achieve a larger impact on national efforts on developing restorative justice in European countries.
To help the better implementation of EU and other international legislation related to restorative justice and for strengthening the quality standards of restorative justice services across Europe, one of our strategic goal is to work more closely with national policy makers.
On 5 August 2020 the European Forum for Restorative Justice together with Terre des hommes submitted a Joint Position Paper as feedback on the draft of the EU strategy on the rights of the child (2021-24). Our paper calls the European Commission to support the implementation of restorative justice, specifically in the areas of promotion of a restorative child-friendly justice and of the prevention of violence in school settings.
On 11 May 2020 the European Commission published its Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Victims' Rights Directive (2012/29/EU). The Directive lays down a set of rights for victims of crime and corresponding obligations of Member States. The Report came out during the he European Commission’s work on a new Strategy on Victims’ Rights (the adoption is planned by June 2020). The EFRJ gave its contribution by submitting to the European Commission its feedback on the potentials of restorative justice in addressing victims’ rights.
On 24 2020 June the European Commission adopted its first ever EU Strategy on Victims' Rights for 2020-2025. The strategy recognises restorative justice as important for empowering victims of crime, for them to participate in criminal proceeding and to recover.
The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) submitted its comments on the draft revised General Comment no. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Our aim was to reflect current developments and definitions of restorative justice that contribute to child justice.
The European Forum for restorative Justice (EFRJ) draw the attention of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the several legal instruments that outline the international and European standards and safeguards for children and restorative justice as well as on the increasing body of research that demonstrate that both child victims and young offenders benefit from restorative justice approaches.
Restorative justice is the only approach that guarantees that children’s views are considered and their voices are heard in identifying needs and making decisions, therefore ensuring the child participation principle as specified in art. 12 of the CRC. Thus, the EFRJ proposed a new paragraph to be included in the GC concerning the right of every child involved in child justice to have access to restorative justice.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) organised the first Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna on 20-23 June 2016. Our former Executive Director, Daria Nashat, attended the event on behalf of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ), which is part of the FRA fundamental rights platform.
The EFRJ focused on the themes of Inclusion, Refugee Protection, and the Digital Age. The event brought together over 400 decision makers and experts from EU governments, parliaments, international organisations, business, academia and civil society, including rights holders and their representatives, as well as media and professional groups. The event was a good occasion for exchanging knowledge and discovering concrete ideas on fundamental rights to be taken further in the EU.
Find below some of the documents produced during the Fundamental Rights Forum.