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Saturday 19th of October 2019

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January 2017 - January 2019 - European Union Justice, Juvenile, Restorative, Victims

The Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (hereafter, the ‘Victims Directive’), adopted on 25th October 2012, strengthens the rights of victims and their families to information, support and protection, and lays out the procedural rights of victims when participating in criminal proceedings. It expects EU Member States (EUMS) to ensure that professionals are trained on victims’ needs.

Concretely, article 12 of The Directive establishes the right of victims to safeguards to ensure that «victims who choose to participate in restorative justice processes, have access to safe and competent restorative justice services». The Directive defines restorative justice (RJ) as «any process whereby the victim and the offender are enabled, if they freely consent, to participate actively in the resolution of matters arising from the criminal offence through the help of an impartial third party» (article 2).

Research in Europe and in other regions has revealed that victims report lower levels of fear and post-traumatic stress symptoms after a restorative justice process. Furthermore, these kinds of processes play a major role in enhancing guarantees for children and young people involved in the process, both as perpetrators and victims of harm, who may have particular vulnerabilities due to their young age.

The outcomes of such a process must be to restore as much as possible what has been lost, damaged or violated. Victims can regain some power over their lives by having the person who harmed them accountable directly to them, by receiving answers to their questions, and by telling their story of the harm and its impact. These needs are also met through apology, reparation and compensation. All these processes require communication, preferably face-to-face, between the parties.

The proactive attitude of European institutions on children’s rights in general, as well as child-friendly justice and victims' protection in particular, has created a favourable environment in the EU for justice reforms. However, in Europe far too few people who have been harmed participate in such meetings with those who have harmed them. Justice, education and other key systems seem reluctant, usually due to a lack of knowledge and experience about RJ, to enable most victims to gain access to restorative processes.

This context is the reason why the IJJO is launching the project ‘Implementing Restorative Justice with Child Victims’ (JUST/2015/RDAP/AG/VICT/9344). Its main objective will be to extend and adapt the research on RJ to demonstrate its effectiveness for young victims. Collaborating with the European Forum of Restorative Justice (EFRJ) on this project, the IJJO has decided to use the strength of two big European networks together and the experience and knowledge of the EFRJ on restorative justice to implement successful practices of juvenile restorative justice in the EU, in order to address the needs of young victims of crime committed by young offenders in the most satisfying ways.

The project will provide an opportunity for mutual learning between six countries, three of which are already using restorative justice with children successfully (the “mentor” partners), and the other three will implement observed restorative practices as part of a monitored pilot project (the “mentee” partners). In addition, in order to provide knowledge about good practices to a large pool of professionals, a practical guide on how to implement three RJ practices with children and youth will be created, and an online course will be developed based on it.

Main Activities

  • 3 pilot projects, based on a mentor-mentee relationship:
    • 3 field visits (Finland, Northern Ireland, Belgium)
    • 1 two day training session during the 3rd field visit (Belgium)
    • 3 monitoring visits (1 per country – Latvia, France, Bulgaria), as well as 2 half day meeting with national coalitions in 3 countries (Latvia, France, Bulgaria)
    • 1 two day internal training sessions in 3 countries (Latvia, France, Bulgaria)
    • ten months of concrete implementation of pilot projects in 3 countries (Latvia, France, Bulgaria)
  • Drafting of a practical guide on Implementing Restorative Justice with Children
  • Online training course based on the practical guide (2 sessions + adaptation in a self-directed course to remain online at the end of the project)
  • Final conference in Brussels

 

Click here to go to the project's web section on the IJJO website.

November 2014 - October 2016 - Europe Good practices, Justice, Juvenile, Measures, Protection, Public policies, Restorative, Rights, Systems, Victims

The project ‘REVIJ - Reparation to the Victim in the European Juvenile Justice Systems: Comparative Analysis and Transfer of Best Practices’ aims to conduct a comparative of the measures provided for victims in the European juvenile justice systems, focusing on analyzing two aspects:

First, if these measures provided for victims comply with Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of The Council, of 25 October 2012, in establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

Second, the practices that are carried out in restorative services within the juvenile justice field, and the type of guarantees they offer to victims.

You can access the web section here.

May 2014 - May 2016 - Europe Adolescent, Child, Education, Protection, Rights, Victims

Participation in legal proceedings places children at high risk of victimisation. Research from SAPI (Social Activities and Practices Institute – Bulgaria) showed that children are repeatedly interviewed about the same subject by police officers, social workers, investigators, experts, judges, etc., most of which have little child-oriented knowledge, and are not capable of correctly interrogating children. Medical examinations are still conducted without consideration for the child’s specific needs, which carries a high risk for secondary victimisation, especially in sexual abuse cases. Overall, research shows that child victims or witnesses of crime’s rights to information, accompaniment and support are not at all guaranteed.

The project aims to improve the situation of child victims or witnesses of crime in legal proceedings through an integrated approach. In support of programme priority “Supporting victims of crime”, the project promotes the use of the 2012 Directive on minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, “in order to improve mutual trust with the view to ensuring protection of rights of victims and of the accused”.

The project's final outcome is the production of a detailed model for multidisciplinary needs assessment and, on this basis, the development of an integrated approach for guaranteeing the child’s rights and best interests during their involvement in legal proceedings.

The target groups are:

1) Professionals involved in criminal procedures (police, prosecutors, judges) in Bulgaria, France, Italy and Romania, who will take part in educational activities to improve their attitudes and their capacity for guaranteeing the child’s rights in a multidisciplinary manner.

2) Professionals from the system of child protection; social service providers; forensic medicine specialists providing expertise and psycho-therapeutic support to child victims of crime in Bulgaria and France; and state policy makers, who will be introduced to an integrated approach to assessing and responding to the needs of children involved in criminal proceedings.

The project is scheduled to last 24 months. It started in May 2014 and will end in May 2016.

To access the project's web section, click here

July 2014 - December 2014 - Europe Adolescent, Child, Justice, Juvenile, Offenders, Reintegration, Research, Restorative, Rights, Standards, Victims

Restorative practices support a participative notion of justice, that favours reintegration over retribution and punishment. As such, by investing in the youths' bond to the community and in a process that stimulates assumption of responsibility, restorative practices may prove particularly appropriate to integrate the best interest of the child in the justice process.

Furthermore, this research, through its definite regional connotation, was designed to stress the common denominator of practices that vary considerably from one European country to the other. In particular, the traditional focus on a children´s rights perspective, that prevails in European and EU standards, and that includes both the rights of the offender and the victim.

The project, carried out by the IJJO's European Council for Juvenile Justice, provided for three main outputs, in the form of the following final publications:

Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States

The team of experts from Greisfwald University, composed of Professor Frieder Dunkel and Doctor Andrea Parosanu, were in charge of the analysis of existing restorative practices across the 28 EU Member States, reviewed in the 28 final national snapshots. The research investigated the various factors that contribute to the effectiveness of restorative justice, taking into account: the legal bases that, in each country, trigger the access and use to restorative practices; the organisational framework and the attribution of responsibilities that determine the delivery of restorative measures; the implementation of restorative justice in practice; and finally the evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of restorative measures.

Vol I: Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States

Protecting Rights, Restoring Respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

The European Model, which analyses good restorative practices, and key features of effectiveness, is based on the research conducted by a team of experts in the field of restorative justice. The experts also investigated the use of restorative measures through three case studies: Belgium, Finland and Northern Ireland. Tim Chapman, Course Director of the Restorative Practices Masters at the University of Ulster, coordinated the overall project. Maija Sisko Gellin, Finnish Forum for Mediation, who has extensive experience of mediation with young people both in schools and the criminal justice system, supported the practice model, in particular through knowledge of the juvenile restorative justice system in Finland. Monique Anderson, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, also supported the practice model, calling on her experiences with the juvenile restorative justice system in Belgium.

Vol II: Protecting Rights, Restoring Respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

Finally, the Toolkit was realised under the direction of the same research team that produced the Model. This final publication was designed to allow for clear and efficient implementation of the principles and methods illustrated in the Model, and is devised for practitioners of restorative justice and justice professionals, in order to diffuse effective practices.

Vol III: Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

You can access the web section here.

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Mercelis, nº 50. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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