January update – Venice Declaration adopted; RPI launches quality assurance framework; RJ in England and Northern Ireland
Venice Declaration unanimously adopted by European justice ministers
December 2021 saw justice ministers from across Europe meet in Italy to discuss restorative justice. Ministers reiterated their support for the 2018 Council of Europe Recommendation concerning restorative justice in criminal matters, and built on its provisions by adopting the Venice Declaration on Restorative Justice. You can find the text of the Declaration here. Minister James Browne TD attended and you can find his press release and quotes here. The concept paper for the Declaration can be found here.
The meeting focused on restorative justice at the request of the Italian government, as Italy holds the Presidency of the group until May 2022, at which point Ireland will take over the Presidency.
Restorative Practices Ireland (RPI) launches new Quality Assurance Framework
Also in December, RPI published their new quality assurance framework for restorative practices in Ireland. The framework, drafted by RJS4C core member Dr. Kieran O’Dwyer, is designed ‘to provide clear, practical information and to encourage and support individuals and organisations to achieve high-quality restorative practice consistently’ (page v.). RPI have also organised regional webinars (South East; South West; West, North and North West; Dublin-Midlands) to support engagement and integration of the new framework – register for the webinar relating to your area using the above links, and retweet about them here.
Spotlight on near neighbours
Recent months have seen some high profile media coverage of restorative justice in England, including in the BBC (Mums of drug death teen and dealer become ‘unlikely’ friends, 13 Oct 2021) and the Guardian (MP Stephen Timms says he would meet woman who stabbed him in 2010, 5 Jan 2022). The Ministry of Justice there is also consulting on a new Victims’ Bill, with Why Me? among the organisations arguing for a right to an automatic referral to restorative justice services.
In the North, the Youth Justice Agency published its performance impact report for 2020/21. 525 young people (p.10) were referred to a youth conference, and victims engaged in the process in 79.3% of 396 cases where victims were identified (p.11). 100% of victims, according to a user feedback survey, were satisfied with the restorative process (p.11).
Events and other information of possible interest
- A forthcoming webinar will explore the development of local restorative practice partnerships – you can register here and retweet here.
- The Taoiseach has spoken of the potential for a ‘non-adversarial mechanism’ that may involve ‘a mediated approach or a mediation mechanism’ to provide compensation following the failures at Kerry CAMHS.
- City Colleges are recruiting a Lecturer in Mediation (deadline Feb 3rd) – for more information, click here.
- PACE is recruiting volunteers for its programme Circles of Support and Accountability. There is an information session on Weds 2nd.
- Crime Victims Helpline are organising a webinar for the European Day for Victims of Crime (Tues 22nd Feb, 1-5) – register here.