Teaching and learning after Covid

If you, like me, are struggling to imagine how teaching after the pandemic will look and feel like for both students and staff, you shall not be disappointed by this year’s RJ WORLD conference. No worries- many international speakers are there to give us some support and guidance in our pondering about the “new normal”…

Mark Goodwin, from the UK, will tell us how to reconnect after this experience, the mindset teachers need, and the learning kids can do. And more importantly, the relationships that need to be built (spoiler: restorative relationships). He will equip us with practical tools that “anybody working with young people can take away and use.”

Dr Belinda Hopkins, an author from the UK, will explain how a Whole School Approach can ease the anxiety of “returning to strange new environments facing guidelines that keep people at a distance, hidden behind masks, unable to socialise.” Together with Monika Alberti, she will present a package of resources designed by UK restorative practitioners to support the mental and emotional health of the whole school community at this time of crisis.

Laura Mooiman’s presentation will also be of interest for you. Especially if you are aware that the current pandemic is not the only crises that needed, needs or will need our response. Laura is interested in creating a positive school culture that can face “(…) crises including earthquake, multiple student suicides, Napa wildfires, and student protests.” For her, the PBIS model is the answer, but more of that in her talk…!

– Excited? Secure your tickets NOW here: RJ WORLD 2020 CONFERENCE TICKETS

And also, check out our other posts about the topic “RESTORATIVE SCHOOLING”:
Culture change starts in schools: Meet the international changemakers behind the movement
Restorative Practice in Schools- For, or beyond behaviour management?
The disputed concept of (school-) culture

A gathering of the sages on Covid-19: Hear 3 of our most experienced practitioners address the current pandemic

Annegrete Johanson (Estonia)

Our wonderfully young but wise Annagrete comes to us from Estonia. She has worked with youth at risk in diferent fields and gave lectures in Universities for over 14 years. She now works as a service manager in Victim support and her responsibility is Restorative Justice and mediation. Annagrete also studied social work, social pedagogy and child care.

What will Annagret share with us in her presentation?

She will give us an overview of the challenges and sucessses of implementing Restorative Justice in Estonia in the last years. Next to finding a system of volunteers, the time of Covid-19 gave opportunity to develop Restorative Practice further. Especially, since we all were forced to think and look outside the box. Annagrete explains: “In Covid-19 time there were restorative discussion-circles online and after restrictions there were restorative discussion-circles in real life.” In her presentation, she will create a magical space dedicated to storytelling of people who took part in Restorative Practice initiatives.

Meanwhile, to get ready for her talk, you can check out a post which is part of the #SolidarityOverDistance series by the EFRJ (European Forum for Restorative Justice). The article with Annagrete is called “Discussion with Annagrete Johanson” – you’ll learn more about the influence of COVID-19 on Restorative Practice…

Mark Goodwin (UK)

Mark, our freelance teacher, trainer & coach has 20 years’ experience working across phases in a number of schools. He currently work in Alternative Provision with kids who are permanently excluded from school or at risk of exclusion, delivering a solutions focused coaching programme alongside key curriculum.

Moreover, he focusses on preventing kids being excluded by training staff in restorative and relational teaching approaches. He gracefully shared his Checklist focussing on“(…) how to go about building and maintaining effective relationships with young people to help them learn well.” Get free access to the checklist, which includes helpful tips, here: “The Cookie Jar Checklist“!

Also, he has published for “TES” (Times Educational Supplement) on the topic that’s in everyones minds at the moment… Yes, right: Coronavirus. More specifically: Teaching and Coronavirus. Or even better: “4 ways to re-integrate pupils who dislike school” during coronavirus.”

What will Mark share with us in his presentation?

His main topic will address the controversial and questioned matter of Coronavirus in context of education. Mark states: “Reconnecting with young people after Covid after recent events, there will be hundreds of kids who feel disconnected from school, learning and even themselves. This will most keenly be felt by those who are already disadvantaged and marginalised.”

Mark will draw on his deepened experience and expertise in reconnecting excluded kids to learning. He promises to present what is required in the coming weeks and months to support a successful reconnection, including:
– the mindset teachers need,
– the learning kids can do,
– the relationships that will be needed to be built.

He will share with us his approaches, which are based on:
– meeting the kids where they are,
– throwing a wide circle,
– “I see you”,
– “see the best part”, and
– “check Yourself”

He also let us know that his talk is “full of practical advice and approaches that anybody working with young people can take away and use.”

Dr Belinda Hopkins (UK)

“Transforming Conflict” logo. Taken from their Website: https://transformingconflict.org/

Please meet the fantastic lady who founded “Transforming Conflict“, a National Centre for Restorative Approaches in Youth and Community Settings, 25 years ago! The project “Transforming Conflict” turned out to meet an important social need, so that it now works with staff in children’s residential care, youth organisations and community care. Belinda is also a well-published author and restorative practitioner, trainer and consultant.

But that’s not all – Belinda pioneered the concept of a “whole-school restorative approach” across the UK in the early 2000’s! A true sage and visioner, she is. Moreover, she is on the EFRJ Values and Principles Working Party and is currently on their Training Committee.

What will Belinda share with us in her presentation?

Take a seat, and imagine this scenario…

“It is undeniable that schools worldwide, school communities are facing a ‘new normal’.
After months of isolation and frightening news bulletins we are soon to return to strange new environments facing guidelines that keep people at a distance, hidden behind masks, unable to socialise.
There is huge pressure to make up for lost time academically.
Schools may be tempted to become even more authoritarian to bring students back in line after months away from the routines and rhythms of their school community.

So what do we do in this case?

Belinda, together with Monica Alberti, will share a package of resources designed by UK restorative practitioners to support the mental and emotional health of the whole school community at this time of crisis. Before the talk, or during the talk – make sure you give this Website “www.restoreourschools.com” a visit! There, you learn more about “(…) How we plan for the return to the classrooms, playgrounds and corridors of schools.” You can also find help-full resources that support this journey.

Belinda was part of that original collective. Monica has been using the materials in Catalonia, working with the Catalan Department of Education to implement a restorative approach in schools not just as crisis intervention but for EVERY DAY.

So, sustainable, practical and informative take-away packages from these 3 speakers are guaranteed! See you there!

Joseph Lauren: Subject of documentary and RJ advocate

Joseph is the Program Director for the charity, called Restorative Justice Housing Ontario. He also was the first Canadian to receive a Federal Prison sentence for insider trading. From prison, he went to working for a new registered charity, with the goal to assist ex-offenders.

Joseph’s Episode in “Voices Inside Out”

Cover of the Podcast “Voices Inside and Out”

Joseph is the guest in John Howard’s podcast “Voices Inside and Out”. The aim of this podcast is to give a platform to those, who have experienced Canadas Criminal Justice System, so they can share their stories with the public. Joseph is the guest in a two-part episode.

The first part is titled, Joseph Lauren: Post-custody Housing Challenges and Solutions“. In this interview, Joseph unpacks, and dives deeper into the issues with finding proper housing for ex-offenders. But he does not shy back from these issues! He provides SOLUTIONS – that’s the part that we all need to hear, don’t we? And if you want to learn more of his experience, check out part 2, too. It’s called “Post-custody Employment Challenges and Solutions.

For a little appetiser of what awaits you in episode one, read here:

“After a high-profile conviction for insider trading, finding employment after custody was a challenge for Joseph Lauren. He was handicapped both by a criminal record and a significant presence on google searches. This led to a change of name, starting his own consulting company, and “Collared” a documentary about his crime. Joseph shares with us his journey to earn a living, experiences in prison, and advice for others on how to make it after prison.”

What will Joseph share with us in his presentation?

He will discuss what miraculous event in prison led him from “a life making millions a year as a former lawyer and inside trader to now working as the first Program Director of Restorative Justice Housing Ontario RJHO.ca“(Restorative Justice Housing Ontario).

Adult and child hands holding paper house, family home and homeless shelter concept. Picture taken from http://rjho.ca/.

The plan of RJHO.ca, as they explain on their website is, to…

(…) help people leaving prison become positive members of society by providing safe housing to those with no alternatives. We focus on people who could most benefit from such housing and who are motivated to change their lives. Our positive and supportive community of volunteers help ex‑offenders to transition back into everyday life, reducing the risk of re-offence and making our communities safer.”

In his workshop, Joseph will unapologetically name and talk about the struggle of trying to find safe housing that ex-offenders face. He will clearly outline the precarious position ex-imprisoners find themselves in, even as people that are fully committed to reform.

He will problematize the fact that these people cannot find housing on their own because of finances and discrimination tied to their criminal records – and that’s why support is desperately needed. Support, like from people like Joseph, and charities like RJHO.ca.

“Collared”

Joseph obviously turned his experience into something great, and use-full. On his Website: https://www.collaredconsulting.com/, he offers his skills in many diferent areas.

You can book him as:

  • Compliance-training speaker
  • Information Protection consultant
  • Keynote Ethics speaker and panelist
  • CLE / CPE ethics training consultant
  • Prison Preparation Consultant
  • White-Collar Crime consequences speaker
  • Expert on Insider Trading and its Prevention

And on his personal page you also get access to his successful BLOG, where you can read up more about his fascinating stories.

Aaaand also, while you’re there…. Check out the TRAILER to his EDUCATIONAL-DOCUMENTARY, CALLED “COLLARED”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FBhiaTPqDY
Trailer to Josephs film “Collared”

But what’s better than hearing the genius himself live at our RJ WORLD CONFERENCE? Plus, you even get the opportunity to interact with him, and ask him questions! So, we shall see you there! 🙂

Meet: CLAIR ALDINGTON, our artmaking restorative justice practitioner

Drawing from Clair’s sketchbooks

The magic of co-creation (making with others), design and gifting in situations of transition, harm and conflict…

Clair works as a creative practitioner alongside her profession as an accredited restorative justice practitioner. She is based in Scotland, where she combines her artmaking practice with her Restorative Justice work. From 2001-2007, she worked with Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service, England.

Space2face RJ Arts Oranisation

Currently, Clair channels her skills into the Restorative Arts Organisation, called Space2face in Shetland, Scotland. What is Space2face, you may ask? Well, I’m glad you ask:

Space2face logo

This is how they introduce themselves on their website:

“Space2face is a restorative justice arts charity and a confidential and independent service. We work with those who’ve been harmed (victims) by crime and conflict, those responsible for causing harm (offenders) through crime and conflict, as well as all others affected by what has happened – the families and communities linked to those primarily involved.”

In 2016, Space2face received a Restorative Practice UK Award for their creative approaches to restorative justice (criminal justice category). And the best: Space2face is for EVERYONE! The organisation promises, “You don’t have to be creative or arty to use our service! We’ve just learned that through making, talking about difficult things is sometimes easier.” Definitely look through their page if this interests you: Space2face!

What is Clair going to share with us in her presentation?

Drawing Clair’s sketchbooks

Clair is in the final year of her PhD, which investigates whether a handmade gifted object can enable connections, or moments of convergence and solidarity across the space between people in Restorative Justice. …So basically, that means that she is researching the potential of self-made objects to connect people, in context of Restorative Justice.

In her workshop, she will share with us pieces from her PhD research in Restorative Justice and Design. It will quickly become evident, that Clair is very interested in language. Therefore, she is going to examine some of the words and phrases she has gathered to begin a discussion around language for speaking about the narratives of convergence (from ‘com’ – with, together + ‘vergere’ – to bend, turn, tend toward).

Peerie Boxes. A miniature exhibition curated with artist Kristi Tait, in partnership with Laura, a lady living with dementia

As part of the talk, Clair will show handmade objects gifted between participants in Restorative Justice encounters. Looking at these objects, you will hear through the artwork, the voices of the creators, and the moments of convergence they enabled, in part, through their objects. …”HEARING voices” through OBJECTS? This will truly be a holistic tickle for – at least two of- our senses!

Hungry to learn more about our wonder-full Clair? Click here: http://www.clairaldington.com/ This link is the entrance door to her fascinating projects, more pictures of her stunning drawings and you can even get a glimpse into her personal sketchbooks! Oh, and last but not least: Clair also runs her own scientifically-artsy blog!

RJ and Covid-19: Three leaders address the current pandemic

Annegrete Johanson (Estonia)

Our wonderfully young but wise Annagrete comes to us from Estonia. She has worked with youth at risk in diferent fields and gave lectures in Universities for over 14 years. She now works as a service manager in Victim support and her responsibility is Restorative Justice and mediation. Annagrete also studied social work, social pedagogy and child care.

What will Annagrete share with us in her presentation?

She will give us an overview of the challenges and sucessses of implementing Restorative Justice in Estonia in the last years. Next to finding a system of volunteers, the time of Covid-19 gave opportunity to develop Restorative Practice further. Especially, since we all were forced to think and look outside the box. Annagrete explains: “In Covid-19 time there were restorative discussion-circles online and after restrictions there were restorative discussion-circles in real life.” In her presentation, she will create a magical space dedicated to storytelling of people who took part in Restorative Practice initiatives.

Meanwhile, to get ready for her talk, you can check out a post which is part of the #SolidarityOverDistance series by the EFRJ (European Forum for Restorative Justice). The article with Annagrete is called “Discussion with Annagrete Johanson” – you’ll learn more about the influence of COVID-19 on Restorative Practice…

Mark Goodwin (UK)

Mark, our freelance teacher, trainer & coach has 20 years’ experience working across phases in a number of schools. He currently work in Alternative Provision with kids who are permanently excluded from school or at risk of exclusion, delivering a solutions focused coaching programme alongside key curriculum.

Moreover, he focusses on preventing kids being excluded by training staff in restorative and relational teaching approaches. He gracefully shared his Checklist focussing on“(…) how to go about building and maintaining effective relationships with young people to help them learn well.” Get free access to the checklist, which includes helpful tips, here: “The Cookie Jar Checklist“!

Also, he has published for “TES” (Times Educational Supplement) on the topic that’s in everyones minds at the moment… Yes, right: Coronavirus. More specifically: Teaching and Coronavirus. Or even better: “4 ways to re-integrate pupils who dislike school” during coronavirus.”

What will Mark share with us in his presentation?

His main topic will address the controversial and questioned matter of Coronavirus in context of education. Mark states: “Reconnecting with young people after Covid after recent events, there will be hundreds of kids who feel disconnected from school, learning and even themselves. This will most keenly be felt by those who are already disadvantaged and marginalised.”

Mark will draw on his deepened experience and expertise in reconnecting excluded kids to learning. He promises to present what is required in the coming weeks and months to support a successful reconnection, including:
– the mindset teachers need,
– the learning kids can do,
– the relationships that will be needed to be built.

He will share with us his approaches, which are based on:
– meeting the kids where they are,
– throwing a wide circle,
– “I see you”,
– “see the best part”, and
– “check Yourself”

He also let us know that his talk is “full of practical advice and approaches that anybody working with young people can take away and use.”

Dr Belinda Hopkins (UK)

“Transforming Conflict” logo. Taken from their Website: https://transformingconflict.org/

Please meet the fantastic lady who founded “Transforming Conflict“, a National Centre for Restorative Approaches in Youth and Community Settings, 25 years ago! The project “Transforming Conflict” turned out to meet an important social need, so that it now works with staff in children’s residential care, youth organisations and community care. Belinda is also a well-published author and restorative practitioner, trainer and consultant.

But that’s not all – Belinda pioneered the concept of a “whole-school restorative approach” across the UK in the early 2000’s! A true sage and visioner, she is. Moreover, she is on the EFRJ Values and Principles Working Party and is currently on their Training Committee.

What will Belinda share with us in her presentation?

Take a seat, and imagine this scenario…

“It is undeniable that schools worldwide, school communities are facing a ‘new normal’.
After months of isolation and frightening news bulletins we are soon to return to strange new environments facing guidelines that keep people at a distance, hidden behind masks, unable to socialise.
There is huge pressure to make up for lost time academically.
Schools may be tempted to become even more authoritarian to bring students back in line after months away from the routines and rhythms of their school community.

So what do we do in this case?

Belinda will share a package of resources designed by UK restorative practitioners to support the mental and emotional health of the whole school community at this time of crisis. Before the talk, or during the talk – make sure you give this Website “www.restoreourschools.com” a visit! There, you learn more about “(…) How we plan for the return to the classrooms, playgrounds and corridors of schools.” You can also find help-full resources that support this journey.

So, sustainable, practical and informative take-away packages from these 3 speakers are guaranteed! See you there!

Joseph Lauren: Subject of documentary and RJ advocate

Joseph is the Program Director for the charity, called Restorative Justice Housing Ontario. He also was the first Canadian to receive a Federal Prison sentence for insider trading. From prison, he went to working for a new registered charity, with the goal to assist ex-offenders.

Joseph’s Episode in “Voices Inside Out”

Cover of the Podcast “Voices Inside and Out”

Joseph is the guest in John Howard’s podcast “Voices Inside and Out”. The aim of this podcast is to give a platform to those, who have experienced Canada’s Criminal Justice System, so they can share their stories with the public. Joseph is the guest in a two-part episode.

The first part is titled, Joseph Lauren: Post-custody Housing Challenges and Solutions“. In this interview, Joseph unpacks, and dives deeper into the issues with finding proper housing for ex-offenders. But he does not shy back from these issues! He provides SOLUTIONS – that’s the part that we all need to hear, don’t we? And if you want to learn more of his experience, check out part 2, too. It’s called “Post-custody Employment Challenges and Solutions.

For a little appetiser of what awaits you in episode one, read here:

“After a high-profile conviction for insider trading, finding employment after custody was a challenge for Joseph Lauren. He was handicapped both by a criminal record and a significant presence on google searches. This led to a change of name, starting his own consulting company, and “Collared” a documentary about his crime. Joseph shares with us his journey to earn a living, experiences in prison, and advice for others on how to make it after prison.”

What will Joseph share with us in his presentation?

He will discuss what miraculous event in prison led him from “a life making millions a year as a former lawyer and inside trader to now working as the first Program Director of Restorative Justice Housing Ontario RJHO.ca“(Restorative Justice Housing Ontario).

Adult and child hands holding paper house, family home and homeless shelter concept. Picture taken from http://rjho.ca/.

The plan of RJHO.ca, as they explain on their website is, to…

(…) help people leaving prison become positive members of society by providing safe housing to those with no alternatives. We focus on people who could most benefit from such housing and who are motivated to change their lives. Our positive and supportive community of volunteers help ex‑offenders to transition back into everyday life, reducing the risk of re-offence and making our communities safer.”

In his workshop, Joseph will unapologetically name and talk about the struggle of trying to find safe housing that ex-offenders face. He will clearly outline the precarious position ex-imprisoners find themselves in, even as people that are fully committed to reform.

He will problematize the fact that these people cannot find housing on their own because of finances and discrimination tied to their criminal records – and that’s why support is desperately needed. Support, like from people like Joseph, and charities like RJHO.ca.

“Collared”

Joseph obviously turned his experience into something great, and use-full. On his Website: https://www.collaredconsulting.com/, he offers his skills in many diferent areas.

You can book him as:

  • Compliance-training speaker
  • Information Protection consultant
  • Keynote Ethics speaker and panelist
  • CLE / CPE ethics training consultant
  • Prison Preparation Consultant
  • White-Collar Crime consequences speaker
  • Expert on Insider Trading and its Prevention

And on his personal page you also get access to his successful BLOG, where you can read up more about his fascinating stories.

Aaaand also, while you’re there…. Check out the TRAILER to his EDUCATIONAL-DOCUMENTARY, CALLED “COLLARED”:

Trailer to Josephs film “Collared”

But what’s better than hearing the genius himself live at our RJ WORLD CONFERENCE? Plus, you even get the opportunity to interact with him, and ask him questions! So, we shall see you there! 🙂

Meet: CLAIR ALDINGTON, our artmaking restorative justice practitioner

Drawing from Clair’s sketchbooks

The magic of co-creation (making with others), design and gifting in situations of transition, harm and conflict…

Clair works as a creative practitioner alongside her profession as an accredited restorative justice practitioner. She is based in Scotland, where she combines her artmaking practice with her Restorative Justice work. From 2001-2007, she worked with Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service, England.

Space2face RJ Arts Oranisation

Currently, Clair channels her skills into the Restorative Arts Organisation, called Space2face in Shetland, Scotland. What is Space2face, you may ask? Well, I’m glad you ask:

Space2face logo

This is how they introduce themselves on their website:

“Space2face is a restorative justice arts charity and a confidential and independent service. We work with those who’ve been harmed (victims) by crime and conflict, those responsible for causing harm (offenders) through crime and conflict, as well as all others affected by what has happened – the families and communities linked to those primarily involved.”

In 2016, Space2face received a Restorative Practice UK Award for their creative approaches to restorative justice (criminal justice category). And the best: Space2face is for EVERYONE! The organisation promises, “You don’t have to be creative or arty to use our service! We’ve just learned that through making, talking about difficult things is sometimes easier.” Definitely look through their page if this interests you: Space2face!

What is Clair going to share with us in her presentation?

Drawing Clair’s sketchbooks

Clair is in the final year of her PhD, which investigates whether a handmade gifted object can enable connections, or moments of convergence and solidarity across the space between people in Restorative Justice. …So basically, that means that she is researching the potential of self-made objects to connect people, in context of Restorative Justice.

In her workshop, she will share with us pieces from her PhD research in Restorative Justice and Design. It will quickly become evident, that Clair is very interested in language. Therefore, she is going to examine some of the words and phrases she has gathered to begin a discussion around language for speaking about the narratives of convergence (from ‘com’ – with, together + ‘vergere’ – to bend, turn, tend toward).

Peerie Boxes. A miniature exhibition curated with artist Kristi Tait, in partnership with Laura, a lady living with dementia

As part of the talk, Clair will show handmade objects gifted between participants in Restorative Justice encounters. Looking at these objects, you will hear through the artwork, the voices of the creators, and the moments of convergence they enabled, in part, through their objects. …”HEARING voices” through OBJECTS? This will truly be a holistic tickle for – at least two of- our senses!

Hungry to learn more about our wonder-full Clair? Click here: http://www.clairaldington.com/ This link is the entrance door to her fascinating projects, more pictures of her stunning drawings and you can even get a glimpse into her personal sketchbooks! Oh, and last but not least: Clair also runs her own scientifically-artsy blog!

Trauma awareness: 3 speakers showing the way in restorative practice

Restorative Values and Standards Working Group. Picture taken from the Website of EFRJ.

Claudia Christen-Schneider, from Switzerland, is the founder and president of the Swiss RJ Forum, and she is also involved in EFRJ (European Forum For Restrorative Justice) values and standards committee. In her presentation, she will tackle the question, “if Restorative Justice currently fails to live up to its own goals of providing a needs-based and healing form of justice.”

If we practice according to Zehr’s (2002) understanding of Restorative Justice, which is “healing of harms caused by crime”, we might conclude that trauma must form part of it. However, this may not always be the case in reality. Investigating the disconnect between theory and practice, Claudia aims to explore “what it means to work trauma-informed with all stakeholders in a restorative process.

Dr Colleen Pawlychka is our Canadian advocate of “trauma-informed correctional care”. Her teaching aims to bridge the gap between community and prisoners. In her talk, Colleen will pay special attention to Childhood psychological trauma (CPT) as a main generator of criminal behaviour.

She will share the perspectives of Canadian federal, male prisoners, that she gathered in a series of in-depth interviews with former prisoners who self-identified as having experienced CPT. If you decide to attend her talk, you’ll also get to hear her recommendations for correctional practice, includeing increased community-prisoner connection and implementation of trauma-informed correctional care.

Anna de Paula is also strongly engaging with the topic of trauma. She currently works as a public prosecutor in Brazil. If you’re part of her talk, you’ll be shown how we can help and support victims of crime with minimal financial or personal resources. Yes, that’s right: Support does not equate to money. How? Well… Anna will explain this part! To understand the imporatance of trauma awareness in that equation, don’t miss her talk!

Unhealthy Victim-offender connections: Responding to trauma

A great number of our speakers will touch on the topic of trauma and its role in restorative approaches. Let me introduce six of the presenters from four different countries, who promise to explicitly and extensively discuss this matter.

Kerri Quinn (with two different presentations in her backpockets) , Lamika Wilson and Leaf Seligman are our pioneers from the US – But learn more about their work here:

Kerri Quinn, from the US, studied extensively the dynamics of interpersonal conflict and the impact of language and trauma in restorative practices. Furthermore, she is an extraordinarily experienced practitioner with over 1000 cases!

Kerri Quinn (picture taken from her website “Restorative Way

And now listen up… Kerri prepared TWO different WORKSHOPS for us!

If you tune into her first workshop, you will leave the conference equipped with trauma-responsive skills, a sharpened understanding of the dynamics of conflict, and specific language tools facilitators can use to de-escalate tension, encourage accountability and enhance listening.

If you come to her second workshop, you will be part of an in-depth exploration of the different stages of trauma experienced by both victims and offenders. Little disclaimer: In this presentation, she will share stories from high risk victim offender dialogues, like murder and vehicular homicide cases, that successfully broke this bond and allowed for restoration and healing.

Kerri is particularly interested in applying the lens of trauma to the undwanted bond created between victim and offender. This bond contributes to anxiety, trauma and impacts other relationships and possibilities for healing… If left unaddressed… On the other hand, this relationship holds great potency. Namely, the possibility for healing and growth – for both parties: VICTIM AND OFFENDER. Althought, achieving this end requires best practice. The kind of practice that leads to SUCCESSFUL cases, and how convenient that Kerri comes with many, many success stories!

And that’s not all: She also brings lots of valuable experience to this conference that lays the grounds for here talks. She is not only the co-creator of the Victim Offender Dialogue Program in Colorado, but she is also currently lecturing at the University of Colorado and the Creighton University Law School. But learn more about Kerri on here: “Restorative Way”!

Two other popular speakers from the US are Leaf Seligman and Lamika Wilson. (You might know Lamika already from our blog post on Restorative Cities “From Restorative Communities … to Restorative Cities … to Restorative States? “) Lamika describes herself as an “advocate for our most vulnerable population and high priority citizens.” Driven by her own experience as someone who has been victimized, her vision is to localize an “office that is accessible for the community”. This office should provide “direct services such as counselling, financial assistance timely and other supplemental resources needed to overcome trauma.” More about Leaf and her work, you can read in our other blog post, here: “Trauma and Restorative Justice: 8 specialists to learn from”

Restorative Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in India

Mission: “Advance restorative justice for children harmed by sexual harm and violence in India.”

CSJ (Counsel to Secure Justice) is an Indian organisation, with Nimisha Srivastava as the active Program Director. Urvashi, Kshipra and Arti are part of this organisation and will be speaking at our RJ WORLD conference!

CSJ implemented a project with UNICEF and the Department of Child Rights, Rajasthan. The aim of the project is to train a local pool of people to conduct circle processes in observation homes (detention centre) for children, who are in conflict with law.

Their vision is to: “repair harm, empower the vulnerable, and reconcile broken relationships.” The key in achieving this agenda lies in keeping each survivor’s needs central to the process. CSJ is especially concerned with educating a local pool of trainers so they can facilitate circles themselves in a sustainable way.

Circles. An extremely useful way to address such traumatizing experiences in a safe way is through circle processes. Let me share with you some insights in the form of short stories and the training of local trainers, starting with one of the numerous astonishing and touching circles done with children in Rajasthan. To protect people’s privacy, all names are replaced by pseudonyms. Harm had been created. This harm was felt by every present soul. It was almost like an elephant in the room, which needed to be addressed.

Feeling safe. Right in the beginning of the session, everyone could immediately feel the safe space created by the circle. The non-judgemental and humane environment enabled by both facilitators and participants allowed participants to sit with their emotions and disappointments while being connected with others, instead of feeling isolated. One boy in the circle from Rajasthan said, ‘ “I am sad and confused since I have not received court order, but here (in the circle) I feel I am safe.”

The crucial moment. One of the most powerful, and healing moments of the session was when Chandan (the person who had harmed) said sorry. What lit up the whole room was the biggest smile everyone had seen on peoples faces who had been close to tears until a second ago. What happened was forgiveness. Now, all the participants were connected by a huge and peaceful smile – a smile of acceptance. Simultaneously, a sense of relief was visible for all. Previous tension had vanished and was replaced by human connection.

Zivesh looked the person harmed in the eyes and said, “I am sorry”.
The person harmed smiled and said, “It’s okay”.

Training. Sometimes, the only thing needed for healing to occur is a genuine apology, a look in the eyes and forgiveness. However, if reconciliation would be that easy to achieve, there would hardly be any need for training. In many cases, a restorative process involves many conversations between different stakeholders. The picture above is from the training done in Rajasthan, aiming to bring the values of CSJ closer to prospective local facilitators.

Personalized talking piece by Ishan’s sister

Going with the flow and personalized talking pieces. One of the important attributes a Restorative Justice facilitator must have is some degree of flexibility throughout the process. For example, there was a conversation scheduled between Ishan and his father. Just before the meeting, and since the whole family had come, they all wanted to meet him. Ishan gave his permission to speak about the facts in front of everyone. As a result, at the last minute, the facilitator of this session decided to let the process flow organically. This decision enabled the whole family to be part in the circle, in which a talking piece hand-made by Ishan’s sister was used (picture above). This way, the whole family could take part in the healing conversation and re-connect.

This is a talking piece created by one of the trainers trained in Rajasthan for the UNICEF project.

Taking Responsibility. One of the requirements before entering a restorative process is that the person who has harmed accepts the responsibility for the harm done. Sometimes many individual meetings are needed to help the person who has harmed own up to their actions. However, when this is achieved, a big step towards establishing justice and healing is taken. “If that person accepts his mistake, then there is no bigger justice than that,” one woman from the ABHAS (“Action Beyond Help and Support”) community group circle processes stated. She found that what is needed most is, “Saying sorry and realizing [the harm] would be enough for me, nothing else.” Circle processes are conducted over three months with women from the community. These sessions were closely examined and published in the study conducted by CSJ on Restorative Justice and Child Sexual abuse in India “Perspectives of Justice”.

…If you want to hear more exciting insight-stories from our three speakers who are part of the organisation CSJ

Urvashi Tilak: Director, Restorative Justice
Kshipra Marathe: Counsellor, Restorative Justice,
Arti Mohan: Program Officer, Restorative Justice

…we would strongly recommend you sign up to our RJ WORLD CONFERENCE 2020!