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COMMUNITY RESTORATIVE

JUSTICE IRELAND

Founded in 1998, CRJI aspires to build a tolerant, responsive and inclusive community by providing restorative justice services to local areas. 

Empowering young people through education, information and issue based training

STARS has been working to support our young people and local schools.

Lurgan / Craigavon

We have designed a bespoke programme to cater for the specific needs of a small group of students in a local school. They will be discussing issues that are affecting them and their peer group. We are aiming to provide a wraparound approach, with participants also gaining a qualification in choices and consequences, and possibly progressing to another OCN in Restorative Practices.

Through this restorative approach we aim to strengthen relationships between young people and support / statutory bodies through open and honest dialogue.

We have been working with other local agencies and to support youths to make informed choices, and increase their knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system. Exploring the purpose of the youth justice system in the North of Ireland, what impact ASB can have on the victim and wider community. Criminal records and the impact these can have. we looked at the laws around topics specific to them, such as, drugs, alcohol, ASB and sexting.

It was important to highlight their rights as young people. As well as discussing the importance of young taking note of the factors that influence behaviour, this may be:

Environment: this is your home, friends, neighbourhood and local area. How does this influence your behaviour?

Society values: this refers to social media, newspaper, films, videos, politicians, school, music, etc

Family values: this influence is more direct and is the way your family encourage and help you do things, or don’t help you

We have imbedded the core beliefs of Restorative Practice which are:

1. Everyone has a unique perspective and a valued contribution to make – we need to hear what people have to say. 2. Our thoughts influence our feelings and both influence what we do and say – we need to unpick what is going on behind behaviour. 3. Our actions and deeds impact on those around us – we need to consider the consequences of our actions. 4. All our actions are strategies we have chosen to meet our needs at the time – we need to be part of identifying what we need and identifying how our needs will be met. 5. The people who are affected by an issue or problem are those best placed to find ways forward in collaboration with each other – we need to be enabled and empowered to make positive and sustainable changes for ourselves.

(https://schools.oxfordshire.gov.uk)

We touched on emerging issues as they arise naturally through conversations and discussions. One of these included labelling theories, this arose after we looked at the label’s society place on young people. We spoke about the idea of a self-fulfilling prophesy and stereotyping and how they view themselves and their place within the community.

A restorative programme allows time to listen to the voice of individuals, and young people. It wants to hear people’s stories, help them clarify their issues and needs, and empower them to find their own solutions to what is concerning them.

We hope that this will be the first of many restorative interventions and programmes within the schools here in Lurgan.

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