Training in Poland- Accessibility and Initiation Project

On the 16th and 17th of January 2014, the first training of the “Accessibility and Initiation for Restorative Justice” project took place in Warsaw, Poland. The Polish Center of Mediation hosted 20 participants and 5 trainers in a 2-day training on best practices for granting access and stimulating initiation for restorative justice. Four themes were discussed during the training: cooperation, awareness, the invitation and face-to-face informational discussions. Participants, trainers and organizers were satisfied with the overall results. The EFRJ is looking forward to the next trainings in Ireland, Croatia (with Romania), The Netherlands and Belgium.

The project “Accessibility and Initiation for Restorative Justice” coordinated by Dr. Malini Laxminarayan held its first training in Poland last week. Twenty participants attended the two day training at the Polish Center of Mediation in Warsaw. Participants were mostly practitioners in family and business mediation, but valuable input was also given by experts in other fields, such as the media and social services. After a short introduction on the research project, the training was divided into four main sections during the two days. The sections were chosen according to four topics originating from the findings of Malini’s research: cooperation, awareness, the invitation and face-to-face informal discussions.. Trainers included Eleonore Lind (Sweden), Kjersti LilloeOlsen (Norway), Jerzy Książek (Poland), Malini Laxminarayan (Belgium) and Emanuela Biffi (Belgium).

The first section dealt with the topic of cooperation between referral bodies and restorative justice organizations. The second section concerned the theme of awareness: in order to grant further accessibility on restorative justice, more awareness should be raised. What is the message that must be delivered, who is the audience for such a message and who is responsible for spreading the voice about restorative justice? The third section allowed participants to think about best practices for writing the invitation to parties to participate in mediation. The fourth exercise was about the face to face discussions that are held with victims and offenders to invite them to restorative justice programmes. This is an important moment as many people will be unsure about what to do when faced with such a decision, possibly showing signs of uncertainty or anxiety.

The training in Poland was successful: participants engaged in the different discussions and trainers received constructive feedback to improve future trainings. Several people who helped make the training successful should be acknowledged: Ania Jaworska-Metzner for facilitating the contacts between the EFRJ and PCM during the overall organization of the 2-day training, and Agnieska for translating all the discussions between Polish and English. Undoubtedly, to the participation of the trainers and the trainees is also very much appreciated.
The “Accessibility and Initiation” project will hold other trainings during the following months: Ireland (February), The Netherlands, Croatia and Romania (March) and Belgium (May). For further information on the research project and/or the trainings, please contact Malini Laxminarayan (m[email protected]) or Emanuela Biffi ([email protected]).