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The “Restorative Justice in Europe: Safeguarding Victims & Empowering Professionals” (RJE) is a transnational two year project that started on 1st December 2012, and will facilitate the implementation of the EC Directives on Minimum Standards of Victims (particularly Articles 12 and 24) and Protection Measures.
RJE is led by the European-wide, UK based think-tank Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) and supervised by Professor Dr. Theo Gavrielides. RJE is delivered in 5 participating countries through a partnership of 5 organisations: the Institute of Conflict Resolution (Bulgaria), the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration Bremen (Germany), Restorative Justice Netherlands (the Netherlands) and the European Public Law Organisation (Greece).
RJE will also be supported by 12 Associate Partners who are experts in the area of victims and restorative justice (RJ): the University of Cyprus (Cyprus), Restorative Thinking (UK), the Register of Restorative Practitioners (UK), Restorative Justice International (USA), the Forgiveness Project (UK), G4S – HM Prison Altcourse (UK), the European Forum for Restorative Justice (Belgium), the Centre for Restorative Justice at Simon Fraser University (Canada), Prof. Gerry Johnstone (UK), Foresee (Hungary), Ulster University (Northern Ireland) and Victim Support (UK).
RJE’s general objective is to produce scientific and practical results that will be directly used by decision makers, policy makers and practitioners in their national implementation of the proposed two EU Directives. The produced material will be evidence-based, and will reflect the needs and wishes of victims and professionals. RJE's scientific and practical results will be written in English, Bulgarian, German, Dutch and Greek. In particular, RJE will create an evidence base that will be used to:
RJE will pay particular attention to (a) vulnerable victims due to their age (b) victims’ families (b) risky environments where RJ is implemented (e.g. secure estate). RJE will also build on the findings of the EU funded project Mediation and Restorative Justice in Prison Settings.
RJE's activities are organised into 5 workstreams (WK) following a clear and methodological order. WK 1 (Review & Theoretical Development) will look at existing evidence from the 6 participating countries and internationally. WK 2 (Fieldwork) will conduct action research in the participating countries with victims, offenders and professionals to collect new knowledge. WK 3 (Production) will use the evidence base from WK 1&2 to produce Protocols and Guidelines for victims’ safeguards, Training Programmes for professionals and Best Practice Guidance for multi-agency cooperation. WK 4 (Pilot & Implementation) will pilot the Protocols/Guidelines/Training Programmes/Best Practice Guidance in various institutions and contexts in the participating countries (e.g. in prisons, police, probation, the community). WK 5 (Dissemination – Cooperation – Awareness Raising) will disseminate widely RJE's scientific and practical results. Actions will be taken for their wider implementation across Europe.
UK Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said: "We know that restorative justice helps victims which is why they deserve better access at any stage of the criminal justice system. that's why we recently introduced proposals allowing for pre-sentence restorative justice, as well as a new action plan to support greater consistency and quality in its delivery. We look forward to seeing the user-led results of this EU-wide IARS project.”