Over 20 countries were represented at the IARS 3rd Annual International Conference – A victim-led Criminal Justice System?  that took place on 19-20 November marking International Restorative Justice Week.  Mike Penning MP (Justice Minister), Ingrid Bellander-Todino (Deputy Head of European Commission Directorate General Justice), Alison Saunders (Director of Public Prosecutions) were some of the speakers.

Ingrid Bellander-Todino (Deputy Head of European Commission Directorate General Justice) said “I welcome this opportunity to have heard different perspectives on how restorative justice and the Victims Directive will be implemented in various European countries and settings. This input helps the European Commission to get a bigger picture on victims’ rights in Europe”.

The Minister responsible for victims, Mike Penning MP said: "The work that has carried out by IARS helps us to really understand how legislation can affect victims’ lives. It is so important victims' are heard throughout the justice system and placed at the forefront of reforms. "Recovering after a crime can be difficult but we have taken a number of steps to help victims cope with what they have been through, and to make sure they are a priority”.

The event was co-chaired by Dr. Theo Gavrielides - IARS Founder and Director, who said: “Today we created national policy while sparking key debates on what needs to be done to improve our criminal justice system. Victims continue to be let down by the system and our conference showed how officials can make change happen. Thank you to all the victims who took part, the keynote speakers and international delegates".

Marcia Riggthe sister of Sean Rigg who died in police custody said “I feel my family and I are victims as well as of my brother who died at the hands of the state. I feel that I am a victim because of the incredible fight for truth and justice that has treated us as a massive obstacle. Had it not been for organizations such as Inquest who help and support families like mine, we would have been totally alone.”

Rosalyn Hollidge, a victim of serious crime said: “It has been a very powerful experience to witness people from all around the world and different agencies debating the potential for a victim-led criminal justice system. For me this is the way forward.”

The event was part of IARS’ 2-year programme “Restorative Justice in Europe: Safeguarding Victims & Empowering Professionals” (RJE) that aims to support criminal justice agencies to comprehend and implement the new Victims’ Directive 2012/29/EU.  The output of the research is published in Gavrielides, T. (2014), A victim-led criminal justice system: Addressing the paradox, IARS: London that was launched at the conference.

IARS will now be running a new national victim-led campaign titled “Victims’ Voices in Restorative  the Ministry of Justice Restorative Justice Grant 

The Conference proceeding will be published by IARS soon and will be available on the IARS website.

Release Date 21.11.14


  • Contact Theo Gavrielides T.Gavrielides@iars.org.uk
  • Follow the event @_IARS_ #IARS14
  • The RJE is funded under EC Grant Agreement JUST/2011-2012/JPEN/AG/2951