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:
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.
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.
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.
Observatorio Internacional de Justicia Juvenil (OIJJ). Fundación Belga de Utilidad Pública
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