Restorative Justice and Domestic Violence. Challenges for implementation




26 January 2016, Brussels

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men
Rue Ernest Blerot 1



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We are happy to announce the final seminar of the project Restorative Justice in Cases of Domestic Violence, Best practice examples between increasing mutual understanding and awareness of specific protection needs.

The project is financed by the European Commission (JUST/2013/JPEN/AG/5487) and coordinated by the Verwey-Jonker Institute. The partner organisations are:

Austria: Institute of Conflict Research (IKF) & Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (IRKS)

Belgium: European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ)

Denmark: National Organisation of Women’s Shelters in Denmark (LOKK)

Finland: Department of Criminal Policy of the Ministry of Justice (MJF)

Greece: European Public Law Organization (EPLO)

The Netherlands: Verwey-Jonker Institute (VJI),

United Kingdom (England&Wales): Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS)

Project overview

The focus of the two years project was on developing minimum standards on the use of RJ in domestic violence cases. It started with the following questions: Can Restorative Justice (RJ) be a solution in cases of domestic violence and if so, under what circumstances? This project seeks to fill research gaps, pull together existing knowledge and to gain a better understanding of the risks and potentialities of using restorative justice in cases of ‘intimate partner violence’. A comparative report on the legal and policy context and practice of restorative justice in general and in cases of domestic violence in particular has been written in 2014 and resulted in a first publication of this European project. In the second comparative report that is almost finalised we focus on the experiences, expectations and needs of victims and offenders who have been involved in an RJ intervention after violence, often a VOM. The final product of the project will be a guide that provides minimum standards for the use of RJ in cases of domestic violence. The research shows that the use of restorative justice in IPV cases is happening in Europe and in the countries involved in this study. However, there is significant diversity in practice at the local level.
There are some common problems and fears mentioned in the comparative report like the importance of a robust preparation phase, safety as an overall point of concern and the importance of after care. In all six countries legal and social measures are in place to tackle IPV and VOM has taken a role in this area too.

The seminar

The seminar will take a full day from 9.15 till 17h on Tuesday, 26 January 2016. The programme entails:

1. Presentation of the project results by the different research partners on topics as:
– RJ in IPV cases: critique & opportunities
– Legal and social contexts
– Different models and practices
– What do victims and offenders have to say
– A Guide
– Remaining questions
– Possible network & follow up

2. Guest lecture by international expert

3. Experiences & needs shared by mediators and other professionals

4. Interactive sessions & debate

Download the 


Comparative report (Jan-15)        Comparative Report (Nov-15) 

Documents of the event

Welcoming session:

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN BELGIUM IPV and Restorative Justice, Marijke Weewauters, Head of the Office of the federal support for gender-based violence, Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (BE)

Presentation of the European projectAnnemieke Wolthuis & Katinka Lünnemann, Vervey-Jonker Institute (NL)


Fact sheets



England & Wales




the Netherlands


Additional presentations: 

Challenges for implementation
Pia Kuittinen, District Prosecutor (FINLAND)

Restorative Justice and Domestic Violence: Challenges for Implementation in Greece
Vasso Artinopoulou Scientific Manager, European Public Law Organization
Anna Mamai, Research Assistant
Vana Papakitsou, Research Assistant

Dilemmas in Victim-Offender Mediation in Interpersonal Violence Cases
Lin Adrian, Associate professor, University of Copenhagen
Karin Sten Madsen, Reseacher, LOKK

The cycle of violence
Janny Dierkx, Mediator (NL)