Restorative Justice in Europe: Safeguarding Victims & Empowering Professionals

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 RJE is funded under EC Grant Agreement JUST/2011-2012/JPEN/AG/2951

The “Restorative Justice in Europe: Safeguarding Victims & Empowering Professionals” (RJE) was a transnational two year project that started in December 2012. It aimed to facilitate the implementation of the restorative justice related articles of the Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 or as otherwise known "the Victims' Directive". The Directive establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA. The RJE focuses on the implementation of the restorative justice related articles.

RJE was led by the international, UK-based think-tank Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) and was supervised by Professor Dr. Theo Gavrielides.

RJE was delivered in 5 participating countries through a partnership of 5 organisations. These were 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). 

"The goal is to improve the real, day-to-day situation of millions of victims of crime across Europe to the greatest extent possible" (European Commission).

RJE’s general objective is to produce scientific and practical results that will be directly used by victims, users of the criminal justice system, decision makers, policy makers and practitioners in their national implementation of the Victims' Directives. The produced material are evidence-based, and 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 has created an evidence base that was used to:

  1. develop, pilot and implement protocols and guidelines for providing restorative justice in the interest of the victim and the offender with the aim of improving victims' safeguards in RJ services, and the consistent implementation of minimum standards throughout Europe
  2. develop, pilot and implement training materials and programmes for victims and professionals (e.g. prison and probation staff, police, prosecutors, victim support workers) with the aim of improving their skills and knowledge on how they treat and interact with victims
  3. develop, pilot and implement best practice guidance that will enhance multi-agency, cross-sector cooperation among RJ/ victim services and national agencies with the aim of minimising the risks of secondary and repeat victimisation when interacting with victims.

RJE's activities were organised into 5 workstreams (WK) following a clear and methodological order. WK 1 (Review & Theoretical Development) looked at existing evidence from the 5 participating countries and internationally. WK 2 (Fieldwork) conducted action research in the participating countries with victims, offenders and professionals to collect new knowledge. WK 3 (Production) used the evidence base from WK 1&2 to produce material for victims’ safeguards, including training orogrammes for professionals and best practice guidance for multi-agency cooperation. WK 4 (Pilot & Implementation) piloted the practical results of RJE in various institutions and contexts in the participating countries (e.g. in prisons, police, probation, the community). WK 5 (Dissemination – Cooperation – Awareness Raising) aims to disseminate widely RJE's scientific and practical results. Actions are also taken for their wider implementation across Europe including the holding of the international conference "A Victim-led Criminal Justice System? as well as the publication of the collected edition Gavrielides, T. (2014), A victim-led criminal justice system: Addressing the paradox, London: IARS Publications. ISBN 978-1-907641-27-5.

"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" (UK Justice Minister Jeremy Wright)