Call for Abstracts - First Annual Northern Ireland Restorative Conference
The importance of restorative justice in creating sustained change and resilient communities
Friday 15th September 2023, Stormont Hotel, Belfast
The RJC are delighted to be hosting our first annual Northern Ireland Conference in Belfast on Friday 15th September 2023.
During this one-day conference, we will be focusing on the following themes:
- The importance of practice standards and quality assurance
- The importance of Restorative Justice/Practice in policy decision making
- The importance of Restorative Practice in early intervention initiatives
- The importance of Restorative partnerships
Ensuring high-quality, safe and effective practice is essential if restorative practice is to develop and thrive. It is a fundamental belief of the RJC that clear standards of practice for those working across the restorative sector not only provide a quality framework, but supports those in the field to build on their capacity. Therefore, our first theme will explore the importance of practice standards and quality assurance in developing sustained change and resilient communities.
Our second theme will focus on the importance of Restorative Justice/Practice in policy decision making. The RJC recognises the importance of raising the profile of Restorative Justice/Practice across the political landscape and the value of creating opportunities for policy discussions with policy makers, but we need to ensure that policy makers fully understand the economic and policy benefits associated with restorative justice/practice. We are interested in exploring what evidence already exists and how we, as a sector, can better support politicians, policy makers and the wider public recognise the true value of Restorative Justice/Practice.
We will also explore the importance of Restorative Practice in early intervention for both children and adults, and what this looks like in practice. We know that effective early intervention can significantly improve the wellbeing of our communities and the life chances of those involved in, or at risk of engaging in, organised criminality and other social issues which lead to crisis. Understanding the root cause and supporting individuals to deal with this ultimately creates better lives for children, families and individuals. The use of restorative practice as part of early intervention initiatives within our schools, care homes and the community, teaches an understanding of others' feelings and provides opportunities to connect and communicate successfully. For young people, it empowers them to think for themselves, build trust and develop more mature responses to a difficult situation, all of which are important skills they can take into adult life.
Finally, we will explore the importance of Restorative partnerships. Working in silos rarely leads to success and therefore reduces the likelihood of achieving successful outcomes. Developing effective partnerships with education, health care, community organisations, police, criminal justice services, local and national government avoids duplication, effectively uses resources and ensures that the individuals we work with receive the best possible support. We ask the question, why is it important to develop effective operational and strategic partnerships and how do we do this?
Call for Contributions
We are currently accepting abstracts to present at this conference. Abstracts can be submitted for consideration in one of the following session types that will run during the course of the conference:
Abstracts submitted for this type of session will involve individual papers on experiences, practices and/or research findings and must link to one of the conference themes.
Presenters will be given 20 minutes for their presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions.
Abstracts submitted for this type of session will involve providing delegates with hands-on experience of delivering and/or sharing skills/practices. Workshops must include practical exercises to learn specific practices or experience specific situations.
Presenters will be allocated 90 minutes to deliver their workshop. A member of the RJC team will be available for technical support throughout.
You can contribute to our programme of presenters by completing this online form with an abstract of no more than 500 words. You must indicate which session type you would like your work to be considered and which theme your abstract is to be considered. All abstracts must be submitted in English.
The deadline for the call for abstracts is the 5th May 2023
All submitted abstracts will be reviewed by our conference committee and a decision will be communicated to applicants by the 19th May 2023
Where abstracts are accepted, the title, names and contact details of the presenters will be included in the final programme of the event.
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the RJC
The RJC’s Articles of Association set out that the charity will operate across Great Britain and Northern Ireland to promote restorative justice for the public benefit as a means of resolving conflict and promoting reconciliation by:
- promoting the use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system, in schools, in the workplace and elsewhere in the community in situations where conflict may arise
- developing and promoting agreed standards and principles for evaluating and guiding restorative practice
- advancing education and research on restorative justice and the publication of the useful results of that research
Whilst well established in England and Wales, the RJC’s reach into Northern Ireland has been somewhat limited in the past. Since his appointment in 2019, the RJC’s Chief Executive Officer has committed to ensuring that the RJC fully delivers its Articles of Association and, as part of this commitment, has developed strong relationships with both Northern Ireland Alternatives and Community Restorative Justice Ireland over the past two years.
Through regular visits to Northern Ireland and his engagement with the DoJ, the RJC has seen a growing interest in our work from service providers, community organisations, government departments and individual practitioners. We have a growing membership body from across Northern Ireland with some individuals and organisations becoming Registered with the RJC.