DEVELOPING A RESTORATIVE JUSTICE STRATEGY FOR GANG AND YOUTH VIOLENCE

As part of their commitment to reduce violence, help heal communities and provide services that stop people from committing further offences, the Greater Manchester Probation Trust (GMPT) wants to develop a strategy for the use of restorative justice with serious youth violence, street group violence (e.g. riots) and gang related crime. 

IARS has been asked to support this initiative by providing independent and evidence-based advice that will allow GMPT to develop a solid framework for their future policy and practice in this area. 

The IARS project is led by Prof. Theo Gavrielides and is founded upon evidence from probation staff as well as “live case studies” that are analysed, evaluated and used for a regional restorative justice strategy.

Following the 2011 riots, GMPT introduced a new Community Order (I-CRC) which includes a restorative meeting and is offered as an intensive alternative to custody for offenders who would normally receive a prison sentence of less than 12 months. I-CRC appeared as a study in IARS’ latest book Waves of Healing. It also serves as an example of the Trust’s progressive and innovative approach to dealing with new forms of violence. 

IARS has been a pioneer in the area of restorative justice and street group violence. In 2011 and in partnership with the Centre for Restorative Justice at Simon Fraser University (Canada), IARS initiated an international research project that explores the potential and pitfalls when using restorative justice with riots and other street group violence phenomena. The project can be accessed via here

As the phenomena of street group violence and gang crime are taking new shapes and forms, the role of the community and of non punitive responses is examined. 

What is restorative justice?

There are probably more definitions on restorative justice than any other criminal justice notion. There is concensus that these definitions are classified into two groups; those that focus on the outcomes of restorative justice, and those that highlight its processes

IARS adopts a broad definition as developed by Gavrielides (2007).

“Restorative Justice is an ethos with practical goals, among which is to restore harm by including affected parties in a (direct or indirect) encounter and a process of understanding through voluntary and honest dialogue.

Restorative justice adopts a fresh approach to conflicts and their control, retaining at the same time certain rehabilitative goals” (Gavrielides 2007: 139)

How it fulfils our mission

IARS’ strapline is ‘community-led solutions for a better society’. Therefore, the promises of restorative justice as a community-born and community-led practice interest us. We investigate these promises through our independent, evidence-based approaches that are scrutinised by our Academic Board . Our findings and research also tend to appear in peer review publications. It is for this reason that IARS Publications was also set up as a small independent publisher.

By working with GMPT, we hope to support the development of a coherent and successful strategy that will enable this regional agency to reduce violence and help victims and families get what they need from the criminal justice system. The fact that this project has a particular focus on youth and how young people can be supported so that better outcomes are achieved for everyone, make IARS’ involvement even more worthwhile. Our policy and strategy work on youth policy, serious crime and restorative justice has been used by many national and international bodies, and we are known for the expertise and original data that we have accumulated in this field. 

We will link this work with the restorative justice strategy that we are developing for Europe through the 3ERJ Project, as well as our membership on the Ministry of Justice national RJ Strategy Group. We will also use the findings and lessons from our work with the London Serious Youth Violence Board as well as the research that we did with our Youth Advisory Boards.

For further information please contact Prof. Theo Gavrielides 

EMBARGOED 00:01 TUESDAY 8 MARCH 2022 

We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  

 

Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: director@iars.org.uk +44(0) 7833 224442  

Sculpt

www.sculptuk.org 

Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.