The Road Less Travelled, More Humane Approaches to Addressing the Harm of Criminal Behaviour.

Tim Chapman, Anneke van Hoek & Annemieke Wolthuis (2018)

Our chair Tim Chapman and vice-chair Annemieke Wolthuis conducted together with the Dutch criminologist Anneke van Hoek a research on humane reactions and projects after crime. It resulted in a report: The Road Less Travelled, More Humane Approaches to Addressing the Harm of Criminal Behaviour. It contains information on restorative justice approaches, but also many more approaches.

This document is the result of a two-year research project funded by an international philanthropic organization. This is a shortened version of the full research material which included international human rights standards and detailed regional scans of Europe, Latin America and North America which mapped patterns of criminal behaviour and institutional responses to crime. The European Forum for Restorative Justice supported the project with relevant data and studies on restorative justice. They also administered a survey among its members and network partners.

The research started with the core question: what are ‘More Humane Approaches Addressing the Harm of Criminal Behaviour’? The first exploration contained a closer look at the different aspects: human and humane, approaches, harm, criminal behaviour and at the different stages of the criminal justice chain. Definitions have been developed on the basis of literature and interviews with experts. At the same time an explorative research was done in different parts of the world on loopholes and good practices.

It was identified that more humane approaches to addressing the harm of criminal behaviour are based upon the dignity of the individual, upon the solidarity of people supporting each other and upon social justice. More humane approaches activate in practical and effective ways people’s agency, victims’ ability to act to recover from harm and perpetrators’ ability to act to redeem themselves. Such approaches build pro-social relationships that support recovery and desistance from offending. And they bear witness to and strive to reform abuses of human rights, discrimination and stigmatisation. Such a different road is much needed in current society.

The road less travelled

European research restorative juvenile justice cover

Restorative Juvenile Justice: Snapshots in all EU-countries- International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO)

European Council for Juvenile Justice & International Juvenile Justice Observatory

The research is composed of three volumes: 
Vol. I ‘Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States’ (Prof Frieder Dünkel, Dr Andrea Parosanu, and Dr Philip Horsfield).
Vol. II ‘Protecting rights, Restoring respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People’ (Tim Chapman, Maija Gellin and Monique Anderson).
Vol. III ‘Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People’ (Tim Chapman, Maija Gellin and Monique Anderson), available in 6 European languages: English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish

Take a look at the research website here.

Restorative Justice in the Victims’ Directive: Survey results.

Brunilda Pali, 2017.

The intention of the short survey was to map the breakthroughs, the opportunities, the challenges, and the future directions of the regulation of restorative justice in the Victims’ Directive, according to the restorative justice services and practitioners.

Restorative Justice in the Victims' Directive - EFRJ survey results

Restorative Justice in cases of domestic violence: Best practice examples between increasing mutual understanding and awareness of specific protection needs

The Restorative Justice in Cases of Domestic Violence-project aims at filling research gaps and getting together existing knowledge on using restorative justice in cases of domestic violence or rather – more precise – intimate partner violence. The main question is: how can restorative justice practices like victim-offender mediation or conferencing be of use in these specific cases of intimate partner violence. Furthermore it aims at exchanging risk points and best practice among practitioners and creating a network of practitioners to increase mutual understanding between different judicial systems and restorative justice practices in the member states. Partners in this project are from Austria, Denmark, Greece, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK. 

Desistance and Restorative Justice: Mechanisms for desisting from crime within restorative justice practices

The project ‘Desistance and restorative justice. Mechanisms for desisting from crime within restorative justice practices’ focuses on the benefit offenders can get in a desistance perspective from participating in a restorative justice (RJ) process. The research was developed as a complement of an earlier study the European Forum for Restorative Justice coordinated on ‘Victims and restorative justice’ and as a response to an increasing interest of in particular policymakers in knowing what the effect of participation in restorative justice processes is on offending behaviour.

Desistance and restorative justice Mechanisms for desisting from crime within restorative justice practices Katrien Lauwaert and Ivo Aertsen (editors)

Victims and Restorative Justice: An empirical study of the needs, experiences and position of victims within restorative justice practices

Edited by Daniela Bolívar, Ivo Aertsen & Inge Vanfraechem , 2015.

This report covers the final findings of the two-year research project “victims and restorative justice” coordinated by the European Forum for Restorative Justice and implemented in The Netherlands, Finland and Austria. This research aimed to study the position of the victim in restorative justice (RJ). To do so, two main issues were addressed: on the one hand, the experiences of victims of crime who had participated (or not, for whatever reason) in victim-offender mediation and, on the other hand, the opinions and views of practitioners from the fields of victim support and RJ.


Developing judicial training for restorative justice: Towards an European approach. Final research report.

Edited by Tzeni Varfi, Stephan Parmentier & Ivo Aertsen, 2014.

  • Developing judicial training for restorative justice: Towards an European approach. Final research report, 2014 (Tzeni Varfi, Stephan Parmentier & Ivo Aertsen (eds.))
  •  Workbook Judicial training in restorative justice, 2014 (Tzeni Varfi & Stephan Parmentier)

The research report and the practical guide can be bought in paper version. If you are interested, please contact the Secretariat.

Accessibility and Initiation of Restorative Justice

Malini Laxminarayan, 2014

The project Accessibility and Initiation of Restorative Justice developed in response to the understanding that while restorative justice mechanisms provide a positive means of dealing with crime, both for the victim and the offender, such procedures are not often being utilised. Both international and national legislation on restorative justice has emerged in the past years, providing countries with a framework to look to as a guide for the implementation of restorative justice. Yet accessibility issues have existed for the past 20 years, hindering a greater number of cases from being dealt with through restorative justice approaches. This project aims to identify these barriers and investigate how to best deal with them, from a comparative perspective.


How can Peacemaking Circles be implemented in countries governed by the “principle of legality?

Two reports, published on 2013, about peacemaking circles. 

Handbook for Facilitating Peacemaking Circles

2013 (Borbála Fellegi and Dóra Szegő)

Developing Peacemaking Circles in a European Context

2013 (Elmar G. M. Weitekamp)

Conferencing: A way forward for Restorative Justice in Europe

Conferencing  is  a  restorative  justice  practice  which  has  started  developing  quite  consistently since the 1990s. 
This  research  project  is  dealing  with  a  topic  that  is  timely,  both  as  research  topic  in  general, but also by being able in some way to help advance practice. 

Practical Guide, 2011

(Joanna Shapland, Ivo Aertsen, Kelvin Doherty, Marlies Teunkens, Inge Vanfraechem, Rob van Pagée and Estelle Zinsstagi)

Conferencing, a way forward for restorative justice in Europe, 2011

(Estelle Zinsstag, Marlies Teunkens and Brunilda Pali)

Building social support for restorative justice:

European Forum for Restorative Justice implemented a two-years project co-financed by the European Commission called “Building social support for restorative justice”.
The project “Building Social Support for Restorative Justice” has addressed three main questions: 1) how can cooperation with the media be set up to inform and educate the public about restorative justice?; 2) how can cooperation be developed with civil society organisations to create broad support for restorative justice?; 3) how can we increase the involvement of citizens in local restorative justice programmes?

Building social support for restorative justice: Media, civil society and citizens.

Brunilda Pali and Christa Pelikan, 2010

Media toolkit for restorative justice organisations

Brunilda Pali, 2010

Restorative Justice and Crime Prevention:

Coordinated by Department of Juvenile Justice (Italian Ministry of Justice), 2010

The ‘Restorative Justice and Crime Prevention’ project was developed in order to examine the European scenario on the relationship between Restorative Justice (RJ) and Crime Prevention (CP) - given the implied distinction to be drawn between these two areas in both theoretical and practical terms.
The partnership for this project included the Juvenile Justice Department (Italy), which was the lead organization; the Psycho-Analytical Institute for Social Researches (Italy); and the European Forum for Restorative Justice at the Leuven University (Belgium). Leeds University in the UK provided cooperation and technical support in the research phase; additionally, the support from Leuven's Catholic University could also be relied upon.

Restorative Justice and Crime Prevention Presenting a theoretical exploration, an empirical analysis and the policy perspective