This course focuses on creative tools to involve children and adolescents in restorative justice processes. It explores the needs of children and young people, and good practices that support the application key restorative principles. The course is practice-oriented and it applies experience based learning. It introduces key considerations when working with children in contact with the criminal justice system (both as victims and/or as offenders), invites participants to work with case studies (including serious harm) and to practice key skills necessary in processes involving children and young people.
The training focuses on practical skill enhancing. How to facilitate a restorative justice processes (victim-offender mediation and other approaches) that protect and empower children at the same time, including the preparing meetings, involving the family and community, taking into power imbalances, and working with difficulties and sensitivities.
The course is relevant for restorative justice facilitators working with children and other professionals working with children who have been harmed by a criminal offence or who are in contact with the criminal justice system for other reasons.
Participants will become familiar with good practices that enable children and young people to express their emotions, share their needs, and can encourage dialogue in a safely organised restorative process.
Bie Vanseveren graduated in Special Needs Education (Orthopedagogy), started her professional career whilst working with people with disabilities. Until 2020, she worked in the field of restorative justice with victims and adolescent delinquents, more specifically as a mediator and Family Group Facilitator in a mediation service in Brussels. She is one of the pioneers who implemented Family Group Conferencing in Belgium and trained many other facilitators. Later she worked as a practical supervisor in the Familial Sciences program in the Co-high School Odisee, where she also taught the restorative methodology. She is an independent mediator in youth care, dealing with conflicts between clients and the institutions. Bie also volunteers at the Belgian Committee for Recognition and Mediation in Files of Hsitoric Abuse and Violence. During all these years working with youngsters, she noticed it isn’t always easy to talk. Sometimes as a result of the difficulties of the case or situation, but also because talking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That’s how she got more engaged in working with materials and images. Over time, she has developed different strategies and started sharing her knowledge with colleagues and people interested in these methods.
Lynn Gastmans graduated as a Master in Criminology and Sexology. For 7 years she worked as a victim-offender mediator and family group conference moderator with children. She finished a postgraduate in Gestalt Psychotherapy and currently works as a Forensic Therapist with adult offenders, on themes such as aggression, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Lynn has always been fascinated by relationships between people, how easy people can get disconnected and how difficult, painful, but also healing re-connecting can be. How significant a restorative approach can be, not only for those directly involved but also toward the wider community. Over the years, she experienced that words sometimes are insufficient or even absent. That’s why she wanted to include more non-verbal and creative tools in her work. She believes this can help to form a new language and maybe bring people (again) to a dialogue.
Both of them were involved in the training course organised by the EFRJ 'Restorative Justice for Children' (online, 2021) & 8th Summer School on Child-Friendly Restorative Justice (2019, Gdańsk) They also have been part of the i-RESTORE Advisory Group, sharing their expertise with practice and training throughout the project.