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Report on the IIRP's 7th International Conference, "The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities"
IIRP

Posted 2005-11-28

We'd like to thank all the participants in the IIRP's seventh international conference, "The Next Step, Developing Restorative Communities, Part 1," for making it such a great success. Held November 9-11, 2005, in Manchester, England, the conference was co-organized by the IIRP, Family Rights Group, and Real Justice UK.

About 237 people from 21 countries attended, including delegates from Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and the United States.

As in previous years, restorative practitioners made presentations about their exciting work in the fields of criminal justice, child welfare and education. And more than ever, we saw evidence that this work is coalescing into initiatives to build restorative communities.

Plenary sessions

In the United Kingdom, the conference locale, the restorative approach is becoming increasingly widespread and well known. Two conference plenary sessions highlighted this growth:

Graham Robb, former headteacher seconded to the English Department for Education and Skills, spoke about restorative practices developments in education in England.

Related paper:
Restorative Approaches in Schools: A Perspective from England

Veronica Hart, manager of Stanfield Children's Home, Welwyn-Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, spoke about how restorative practices completely changed the climate at two homes for children placed by county social services.

Related paper:
From Sanctions to Support: Restorative Practices Transform Homes for Looked-After Children in the UK

Other plenary sessions illustrated the spread of restorative practices around the world:

Ted Wachtel, IIRP president and author of Real Justice, introduced the conference, laying out his vision of restorative practices as an international social movement, beginning at the grassroots level and on a community-wide basis for children and families.

Related paper:
The Next Step: Developing Restorative Communities

Wanchai Roujanavang, director general of the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, Thailand Ministry of Justice, reported on the development and progress of Family and Community Group Conferencing in Thailand.

Related paper:
Restorative Justice: Family and Community Group Conferencing (FCGC) in Thailand


Elisabeth Vandenbogaerde and Michael Michiels, youth counselors from Belgium, talked about the 18 months they spent as school counselors for the IIRP's sister organization, the Community Service Foundation, in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, which provides restorative programs for troubled youth.

Related paper:
Working and Living in a Restorative Milieu

Reverend Benjamin Shortridge, founder and executive director of Los Angeles Family and Community Empowerment Services, California, USA, discussed his belief that family group decision making, or FGDM (known in the UK and elsewhere as family group conferencing, or FGC), is a way to restore the communal power of the village lost to society today and to help and families become self-sufficient and self-reliant.

Related paper:
The Kinship Gap? Family Group Decision Making and Family Group Conferencing—Bridging the Gap

Breakout sessions

(Papers voluntarily provided by presenters. These do not represent all breakout sessions)

Teri Ashley, Hey Wait! I'm Flying Solo!: Implementing Restorative Practices in a Classroom Community without Systemic Support (paper — plus Peacekeeper Program

John Boulton, Restorative Justice as a Tool for Organizational Change

Faye Bormann, Growing Restorative Practices with System Support in the Australian Capital Territory

Mark Bryant & Sharon Inglis, Community Conferencing: Widening the Circle

Ed Buller, Aboriginal Community Healing Processes In Canada

Joan Burnham & Ed Davis, Innovation in a Retributive Traditionalistic State: The Case of Texas

Diane Curry, Creating a Safe Place for Black Offenders

Alice Delvigne, Boundaries in Victim-offender Mediation: Reflections on Mediation in Certain Cases and Crimes (paper — plus Mediation in Belgium Law)

Deanna Edwards & Ruth Bennett, Young People's Participation in Family Group Conferences

Mark Finnis & Paul Moran, Sefton: Heading Towards a Restorative Community

Zvi Gabbay, Justifying Restorative Justice: A Practical and Theoretical Justification for Restorative Practices

Christine Grice, Mick Levens, Marcia Lewis, Caroline Newton, Mel Stanley & Sian Williams, Restoring the Balance: A Borough-wide Perspective on Restorative Approaches (PowerPoint — plus Restoring the Balance paper

Sharon Inglis & Sandie Prouse, West Berkshire: Building Restorative and Preventative Practice in the Community

Michael Kearns, Widening the Circle to Create Restorative Justice in the Community

Tim Newell & Barbara Tudor, Escaping Victimhood (PowerPoint — plus Escaping Victimhood paper and Wendy's Statement)

Catherine Nicholson, Why Is Good Restorative Practice Difficult to Implement within Referral Orders and Community-based Sanctions?

Terry O'Connell, Restorative Practices in Probation and Parole

Terry O'Connell, Why the Real Justice Script?

Terry O'Connell & Les Davey, Restorative Policing: Foundations for the Growth of a Restorative Organization

Terry O'Connell & Ron Hunt, Restorative Practices and Faith Communities

Terry O'Connell & Nicola Preston, Restorative Practices in Complaint-resolution Processes

Terry O'Connell & Nicola Preston, The Key to Effective Implementation of Restorative Practices in Schools

Barbara Tudor & Les Davey, National Occupational Standards in Restorative Justice and Accreditation Options (PowerPoint — plus Best Practice Guidance for Restorative Practitioners, IIRP Accreditation Options in the UK and Revised National Occupational Standards for Restorative Justice)

Margarita Zernova, Aspirations of Proponents and Experiences of Participants in Family Group Conferences