Thursday, April 17th, 2014

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Victim Support and IARS join forces to help deliver restorative justice measures in EU

IARS, the UK based international charity, is joining forces with leading victims’ charity Victim Support to deliver a ground breaking Restorative Justice project, funded by the EU. Restorative Justice in Europe will help introduce minimum standards to protect victims

  and witnesses in five EU countries, as set out in two new EU directives for victims. 

The two year project will be led by IARS and delivered in partnership with the following 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).
  • Restorative Thinking (UK)

The project builds on the shared belief of IARS and Victim Support that victims should help shape the criminal justice process.

Using the knowledge gained from reviewing the current literature on restorative justice interviews and surveys will be conducted with victims and offenders who have undergone a restorative justice process to find out more about their concerns, fears and how the process could be more beneficial for them.

IARS and Victim Support will then work with decision makers, policy makers and practitioners in the criminal justice system during implementation of the proposed victims’ directives, based on the evidence that is collected directly from victims and offenders.

This work will be used to develop, pilot and implement:

  • ways of working to ensure restorative justice is designed to benefit the victim rather than being in favour of the offender;
  • training for professionals such as prison and probation staff to help improve how they work with victims; and
  • guidance to improve the way criminal justice agencies work together  to deliver restorative justice, so that victims do not have to suffer twice  and really benefit from the process.

IARS Founder and Director, Dr. Theo Gavrielides, said: “Organizations need to learn how to work better together. Trust is not created through one off events but through long term relationships and a shared understanding of common values”. Gavrielides also said: “I am very pleased that Victim Support, the leading organisation serving victims in the UK, has agreed to support us in our project. We must ensure that victims are leading its research and policy aspects”.

Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Victim Support said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with IARS to ensure that victims’ voices are heard across the EU.

“We support hundreds of victims of crime every day in England and Wales and one of their main concerns is that the offender doesn’t do it again.

“Restorative justice, delivered well, can be part of this process.  But adequate safeguards must be in place to ensure that victims are supported and protected from revictimization.  We look forward to working with IARS.”

Ends.

Notes to editors

  1. Contact Dr Theo Gavrielides, IARS Director and Founder or Roberta Antonaci, Communications and Marketing Officer. Office line: 020 7820 0945, Office Mobile: 07833224442 Twitter: @TGavrielides
  2. IARS is a leading, international think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society.  It achieves its charitable aims by producing evidence-based solutions to current social problems, sharing best practice and by supporting young people to shape decision making. IARS is an international expert in restorative justice, human rights and inclusion, citizenship and user-led research.
  3. Website: www.iars.org.uk
  4. Twitter: @/_IARS_
  5. Facebook: www.facebook.com/IARSCommunity
  6. Restorative Justice in Europe: http://rj4all.info/content/RJE
  7. Victim Support is the leading charity for people affected by crime, offering help to over 1 million people every year.
  8. Victim Support has trained staff and over 5,500 volunteers offering free and confidential information, support and practical help to anyone affected by crime, whether or not it has been reported and regardless of when it happened.
  9. The national charity also runs the Witness Service and the Victim Supportline.
  10. Website: www.victimsupport.org.uk
  11. Twitter: @VictimSupport
  12. Facebook: www.facebook.com/victimsupport

 

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