A. Service overview and contact details
Focus of restorative justice (RJ) and restorative practices (RP) activities
Facing Forward supports the introduction of restorative approaches based on best practice that has emerged in other countries. Its activities comprise advocacy for restorative justice, research, restorative practice (referring enquiries to independent practitioners) and training (providing both accredited and non-accredited training).
Year of commencement (RJ/RP elements)
Head of service
Anne Mandal, Chairperson
Facing Forward is a member-based, voluntary organisation. Its work is directed by a Management Committee of ten people. It has three honorary roles: Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. Work is progressed through four separate working groups: Advocacy, Research, Restorative Practices and Training and Development. Each working group has a co-ordinator, whose responsibility it is to ensure that the working group terms of reference are fulfilled in an effective and timely manner. Membership of Facing Forward is not formally established and membership is not a pre-requisite to participation in activities.
Staff training in RJ/RP
The management committee is made up of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds including mediation, criminal justice, community development, and peace and reconciliation work. All committee members have diverse restorative justice and practice backgrounds and qualifications. Some are facilitators and trainers in 3rd level institutions.
Use of volunteers
All committee members are volunteers
Volunteer training in RJ/RP
See staff training above
Main source(s) of funding
Facing Forward operates with voluntary input without formal funding.
Nature of funding
Costs are met through modest fees from training courses on a non-profit basis
Voluntary organisation without legal structure. Its workings are guided by a constitution.
Target client group
People impacted by harm or people interested in developing knowledge and skills in restorative approaches
Source of referrals
People or organisations contact Facing Forward Chair or members directly
Geographic area of activity
B. Nature of RJ/RP service
RJ/RP services provided
Facing Forward offers to connect people with trained and experienced restorative practice facilitators who provide a wide range of restorative approaches including Healing Circles, Victim Offender Dialogue and Restorative Conferences. These processes create opportunities for those impacted by crime to address the issues arising from abuse, violent behaviour and criminal offences. Facing Forward does not assess or validate practitioners’ abilities, skills and knowledge, and strongly recommends that anyone considering engaging a restorative practitioner meets that practitioner and undertakes their own checks in advance of engaging their services.
Facing Forward promotes restorative justice as an effective strategy to prevent, reduce and repair harm, heal trauma and transform the lives of individuals and communities impacted by crime, including serious crime. In particular, Facing Forward proposes three recommendations to further develop RJ and RP in Ireland: (i) extend restorative work to respond to the unmet needs of those harmed not just by minor crimes, but also by serious crimes; (ii) promote the role of NGOs in restorative work; and (iii) encourage a wider restorative approach beyond the criminal justice system – in communities, schools and throughout society. The advocacy work of Facing Forward has included submissions and briefings to the Oireachtas Justice Committee on several pieces of legislation including the Victims of Crime Act 2017 and bringing the EU Victims Directive into Irish law , as well as to other organisations.
In 2012-2014, Facing Forward, with Dr. Marie Keenan and Ms. Bernadette Fahy, designed and carried out research looking at the potential of restorative justice to address the aftermath of sexual abuse and trauma in Ireland (see below for report). A core recommendation was that restorative justice services be made available to those impacted by sexual violence and a three-year pilot project be carried out and evaluated.
Facing Forward organises trainings, workshops and seminars which offer extra skill development and the latest innovations in restorative practices by leading practitioners. It connects individuals or organisations with independent and experienced restorative practice trainers who can provide a wide range of bespoke training.
Annual trainings and open meetings
Members of all communities are invited to join Facing Forward
Development of awareness of RJ/RP and creation of increased skills within the community
C. Sources of further information
- Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Restorative and Transformative Possibilities?
- Building Bridges: A Restorative Journey at Greenbay Prison, Wisconsin by Catherine O’Connell (Journal of Mediation and Applied Conflict Analysis)