The EFRJ encourages your active participation in promoting RJ in the context of the RJ WEEK 2016! Get inspired by the stories below and… share your own story with us! Also, feel free to participate in one or more EFRJ events organised in Belgium on occasion of the RJ WEEK 2016! #RJWeek: follow us on social media! Some of the events and stories collected for the RJ WEEK 2016 will be shown as a slide-show: download the EFRJ presentation in Pdf and in PowerPoint and feel free to use it!
1. Brunilda Pali (Belgium), 2016
Each of us is a storyteller. We perceive ourselves through stories, we give meaning to our lives through stories, we like to appear to others through stories. As ‘time’ is less and less, ‘things’ more and more, relations thinner and thinner, our stories are slowly disappearing. Certainly for others, we have no more stories. Categories have replaced them: easy, efficient, neat. I have many nightmares, but certainly living among beings without stories is one of them. My plea today is for reading less news, less theory, less mails, less sms, and returning to our novels, to our poetry, to our letters, to our grandmothers, and to ourselves for more stories. This alone will not save the world, but maybe the word should spread out that we are not looking for salvation.
2. A. P. (Italy), 2016
Maybe it’s not about the happy end. Maybe it’s about the story.
3. Rory Doherty (Northern Ireland), 2016
The article attached captures what took place over a two month period using restorative conversations within a Quaker Care shop in Belfast. I believe having restorative discussions, something which seems really simplistic, can have huge benefits for those involved. Joe, (whose name has been changed) stated: ‘It made me consider the effect this might have had on the person I hurt/injured. Before I thought I was afraid to face and acknowledge it but now I can say that it has made me think at length about what I did, and how it affected the victim. I felt relieved and good. It was great being able to talk informally about what had happened and it was a great relief to voice the pain and let it out. Initially I was worried about what Rory would think of me as a person but he was very understanding and helped me to talk.’ I would like the article to promote the use of restorative conversations for those who are currently doing community service.
4. Nathalie Mazaud (France), 2016
I’m a happy judge. Even more since the integration of restorative justice in French law. I have chosen to experiment the restorative justice in the pre-sentence phase in the District Court of Lyon. In a sexual assault case, the victim and the offender have publicly stated that they would not hesitate to recommend such action. That day, 7 July 2016, the parties were fully involved in their trial and faced it with more serenity, and this, in presence of an audience that I imagine was stunned!
5. Ana Balan (Romania), 2016
To change from law enforcement officer to mediator, in just a few years, may seem like a… surprising transformation. Yet it is possible if one doesn’t rush to label and judge, but rather listens, understands, believes in communication and people’s ability to reach those decisions that will generally satisfy their interests. Read here all story!
6. Erasmus+ participant, 2016
In my work field, when I work with migrants that will tell their story, I try to establish a good communication based on personal freedom and respect of the other’s ideas. This permits a peaceful relationship between different cultures, using an inclusive point of view. More about the Erasmus+ activities.
7. Fabio (Italy), 2016
I was abroad somewhere in Europe with a lot of friends and we got some problems with police-authorities. We were in a building celebrating something (I cannot remember what exactly), having fun and getting drunk. Someone in the building, obsessed by such noises, called the police. They came with some vans and transported us at the police station. They didn’t speak English at all, we didn’t trust them. We were expected to be punished for something we didn’t know. We didn’t feel safe and secure. Eventually, nothing else happened, they checked our documents and let us go. It was one of the worst situations in my entire life. More about the Erasmus+ activities.
8. Erasmus+ participant, 2016
Imagine a house. On the ground, there is respect: everyone should have the same right and the same opportunity to stand. The walls are responsibility, support and inclusion: these skills give the opportunity to be involved in the community as a member and an instructor for change and transformation. The roof is communication and relationships. More about the Erasmus+ activities.
9. Erasmus+ participant, 2016
Nowadays communities appear to be obsessed with the idea of creating a secure and safe environment for their citizens. Through the years, the security demand strongly shifted towards the idea that harder punishment (prison) and stricter policies (more power to police and courts) will guarantee a peaceful and safe coexistence of people. I strongly believe that, as a community, we should find other solutions and restorative approaches seem to be an important alternative. This approach not only allows people to have the power over their conflicts, but gives them the chance to be in charge of the solution of the problem to face each other and recognise themselves as people who deserve respect and fairness. More about the Erasmus+ activities.
10. Moderator’s team (Belgium), 2016
On occasion of the RJ WEEK 2016, the team of Moderator (the Flemish RJ services) will be collecting short stories from the general public about conflicts and their possible solutions. Moderator prepared postcards and pens to be given to people walking in the street or visiting the weekly market. Participants will be asked to think about conflicts they are involved in, if they could imagine being the opposite party and they will be asked what they would like to communicate to the other one concerned in the conflict. Finally, participants can send the postcard back to Moderator, or scan the QR code that leads to the website, where they can leave their comments. They are also invited to speak of it on social media with #prikkelmoderator.
11. Natxo (Basque country, Spain), 2016
I am sending you an account of a personal experience, which although it is not a history of Restorative Justice, contains a Restorative story.
I hope you like it. Read the story here.
12. Michael Kilchling (Germany), 2016
Victims react in different ways to the offer of a RJ meeting. Once, in Germany, a mediator asked a widow if she was ready to receive a letter of apology from the man responsible for the death of her husband. Such a letter (a common tool in victims’ victim programs inside and outside the prison system) was not enough for her: she responded that she wanted to meet him in person! This victim spontaneously expressed the desire for a personal encounter with the perpetrator in prison. Her daughter said that this was a long-standing wish of the mother, and, despite her own skepticism, she encouraged her mother. (Taken from an interview during the evaluation of the pilot project of restorative justice in prison in the German state of Baden-Württemberg: Kilchling, M.: Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich im Strafvollzug. Wissenschaftliche Begleitung des Modellprojekts “Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich im baden-württembergischen Justizvollzug”. Berlin 2016).