Welcome to the website of Dr. Borbála Fellegi!
I am a researcher and consultant in the field of social policy and criminology. My main research field is the sociology of conflicts with special focus on the potential of mediation and restorative justice in criminal matters. My other research activities mainly relate to the issues of education and ethnic minorities.
During my university education I obtained a PhD and a Master degree in social policy (ELTE University) and in criminology (University of Cambridge).
Below you can find some information about my recent activities. To gain a deeper insight into my professional and personal life, please look around on my website!
6th International Conference of the European Forum for Restorative JusticeBilbao, Spain (17-19 June 2010)
1 February 2010
The 6th International Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice will take place from 17 until 19 June 2010 in Bilbao (Spain). As this conference marks the 10th anniversary of the Forum this is an ideal opportunity to look back at restorative justice practices developed so far and to look forward to new practices, possibilities and opportunities.
The conference will cover three main themes: 1) The work of practitioners (mediators and facilitators), 2) Cooperation with legal practitioners, 3) Conferencing. More information and the full programme of the conference can be found here.
Proposals for workshop presentations must be handed in before 1 March 2010.
The call for proposals can also be found on the website of the European Forum.
If you would like to receive more information on this conference you can contact Karolien Mariën.
Film a közösségi mediációról
Lezárult a Foresee Kutatócsoport koordinációjában megvalósított, "Települési mediáció Nagybörzsönyben" c., Országos Bűnmegelőzési Bizottság által támogatott projektünk. A filmről Hajdú Eszter rendezésében film készült, amely megtekinthető a http://vagyunkmiis.foresee.hu oldalon (angol felirattal is).
Köszönettel tartozunk szakmai partnereinknek, támogatóinknak, a filmben résztvevő lakosoknak és valamennyi barátunknak, aki segített a film elkészítésében!
Kérjük, ha tudsz, segíts a film terjesztésében, és oszd meg velünk a film kapcsán felmerülő gondolataidat!
Film about community mediation
The number of ethnic-based conflicts has been drastically increasing in Hungary, mostly against Roma people. Recognising it as a serious problem, we in Foresee Research Group have just finished a three-month-long experimental project funded by the National Crime Prevention Board, Hungary, by which we combined community building and mediation methods in a small Hungarian village. We provided several training (tolerance, mediation and a so-called implementation training), group activities for children, young mothers, local volunteers and ADR services where the trained local people participated as co-mediators besides our team’s mediators.
As results of the project, there were several successful mediations, the community cohesion has been significantly strengthened according to the local people, and there is now a group of freshly trained and committed local people, who are willing to help their community as mediators and to volunteer in other community-based actions.
Feel free to disseminate the link of the film to your colleagues.
"Út a megbékéléshez - A helyreállító igazságszolgáltatás intézményesülése Magyarországon" c. könyvem 2009. májusában megjelenik a Napvilág Kiadó gondozásában.
A kötettel megjelenünk az Ünnepi Könyvhéten is június 7-én, vasárnap 14.00-kor a Napvilág Kiadó standjánál. Ha éppen arra sétálsz, nagy szeretettel látlak!
My book „Towards restoration and peace – The implementation of restorative justice in Hungary” will be published in May 2009 by Napvilag Publishing House, Hungary.
Its abstract can be downloaded from here.
"Büntetés és/vagy helyreállítás? A resztoratív igazságszolgáltatás intézményesülése Magyarországon" c. disszertációmat beadtam doktori védésre
Sikeres munkahelyi vitát követően (2008. 09. 08., ELTE TÁTK) - amelyen 25-en vettek részt a szociális, kriminológiai, rendészeti, pártfogói, jogászi szakmákból - a benyújtott vélemények alapján véglegesítettem doktori disszertációm szövegét, és bedtam doktori eljárásra az ELTE Társadalomtudományi Karának Doktori Bizottságához. A nyilvános védésen opponenseim Dr. Fleck Zoltán (ELTE Jogi Kar) és Dr. Görgényi Ilona (Miskolci Egyetem Jogi Kar) lesznek. A bizottság elnöke Dr. Kerezsi Klára lesz. A védés időpontja várhatóan 2008. decemberének első fele.
My dissertation 'Retribution and/or Restoration?
Following a successful internal defence (08. Sept 2008) where 25 professionals participated from the social, criminological, justice, probation and legal fields, I have submitted my dissertation to the Doctoral Committee at ELTE University for final defence.
Fifth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, Verona, Italy (17-19 April 2008)
20 April 2008
'Building restorative justice in Europe. Cooperation between the public, policy makers, practitioners and researchers' was the title of the fifth conference of the European Forum, held in Verona in April 2008.
Approx. 300 participants from all the contintents of the world (!) came to share their experiences how they work towards stimulating the partnerships between practice, science and police and how they work on creating a more human justice system by which victims', offenders', the communities' and societies' needs are better reflected.
You can download my presentation 'Communication of victim-offender mediation: working towards a professional consensus' from here.
You can find some nice pictures about the conference here.
Az Európa Tanács hatékony igazságszolgáltatás érdekében eljáró bizottsága (CEPEJ) ajánlásokat fogalmazott meg amediáció alkalmazásával kapcsolatosan
The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) has issued guidelines for a better implementation of the Council of Europe's recommendations concerning
Képzés a mediációról és a helyreállító igazságszolgáltatásról rendőrök számára
A Bűnmegelőzési Akadémia szervezésében két és fél napos képzést tartottunk Dr. Kertész Tibor (Partners Hungary Alapítvány), Dr. Törzs Edit (Központi Igazságügyi Hivatal), Drienyovszki János (Fővárosi Igazságügyi Hivatal) és Dr. Téglás Péter (Kiskunhalasi Városi Ügyészség) együttműködésével 23 nyomozó, bűnmegelőzési szakreferens, ifjúságvédelmi és áldozatvédelmi előadó számára a mediáció elméleti és gyakorlati szempontjairól. A képzés nem csak a büntetőügyi mediáció hazai gyakorlatáról és tapasztalatairól adott átfogó képet. A tréningfoglalkozás keretén belül a rendőrök kipróbálhatták a mediáció és egyéb, konfliktuskezelési technikák (pl. facilitálás) módszerét. A 3 nap során a hallgatók - többek között - betekintést kaphattak a helyreállító igazságszolgáltatás szemléletének elméleti és gyakorlati elterjedtségéről a társadalom különböző színterein, a számos csoportfoglalkozás során pedig megvitathatták egymással, hogy a rendőri munka során milyen segítséget jelenthet a mediáció, ki miként tudja mindezeket gyakorlatában hasznosítani, valamint milyen további fejlesztéseknek látja szükségét a mediáció sikeres alkalmazása céljából.
Training on mediation and restorative justice for police officers
Within the framework of the Crime Prevention Academy together with Dr. Tibor Kertész (Partners Hungary Foundation), Dr. Edit Törzs (Central Office of Justice), János Drienyovszki (Office of Justice Budapest) and Dr. Péter Téglás (Prosecution Office, Kiskunhalas) we gave a 2.5 days long training for 23 police officers working in the field of investigation, crime prevention, youth affairs and victim support. The training included several presentations and interactive activities about the theoretical and methodological aspects of mediation. Throughout role plays the trainees could try out the different methods (mediation, facilitation, circles) themselves. Sessions were also dedicated to the main principles and practices of restorative justice in all levels of the society as well as to its international experiences. A great emphasis was put on stimulating small group discussions by which participants could exchange their thoughts on 1.) how they can apply the different aspects of mediation in their daily work; 2.) in what ways mediation can help their work as police officers; 3.) and what they need in order to further develop the application of this method in their work.
As group leader for 1.5 days, I need to acknowledge that this team was fantastically colourful, well-prepared, ambitious and enthusiastic. They have been open and flexible not only for applying the different techniques and procedures in their work, but many of them - as human beings - have recognised the importance of applying the basic restorative justice principles in their daily life. I hope we will have more joint projects in the future!
My presentation can be downloaded from here.
Some photos about the training can be found here.
Mediációs képzés a Magyar Bíróképző Akadémián (2008. február 7.)
Mediation training for the Hungarian Judicial Academy
Az ország különböző megyéiből érkező fiatal bírák számára félnapos mediációs képzést tartottunk Dr. Dénes Veronika (PKKB), Dr. Stummer Attila (PKKB), Dr. Tözs Edit (Központi Igazságügyi Hivatal) és Drienyovszki János (Fővárosi Igazságügyi Hivatal) közreműködésével. A képzés során kiemelésre kerültek a büntetőügyi mediáció és a helyreállító igazságszolgáltatás szemléletbeli sajátosságai, nemzetközi gyakorlata, az egyéves jogintézmény hazai tapasztalatai bírói és mediátori szemmel.
Together with Dr. Veronika Dénes (Pest District Court), Dr. Attila Stummer (Pest District Court), Dr. Edit Törzs (Central Office of Justice) and Drienyivszki János (Office of Justice, Budapest) we gave a half day training in mediation for young judges coming from variuos counties of Hungary. During the training we have highlighted the main aspects of the restorative justice approach; its international practice; and the main lessons learnt during the operation of the one-year-old institution of mediation in criminal matters in Hungary - with the eyes of the judge and of the mediator. Maybe this training was another step that help strengthening the effective cooperation between the judicial authorities and the mediators...
My presentation can be downloaded from here.
Az állampolgári részvétel és közösségeink erősítése - beszámoló a Resztoratív Gyakorlatok Nemzetközi Intézetének budapesti konferenciájáról
Improving citizenship and Restoring Community:
“Részvétel, felelősségvállalás, kommunikáció, közösség, törődés, helyreállítás, megértés, elfogadás” – ezek a fogalmak övezték a Resztoratív Gyakorlatok Nemzetközi Intézete és a Közösségi Szolgáltatások Magyarországi Alapítványa által közösen rendezett három napos konferenciát.
| “Participation, responsibility-taking, communication, community, caring, restoration, understanding, acceptance” – these concepts were in the focus of the 3-days long conference organised by the International Institute for Restorative Practices in cooperation with the Community Service Foundation of Hungary.
My report can be downloaded from here.
My presentation can be downloaded from here.
Ügyvédek büntetőügyekben eljáró közvetítőként - jogszabálytervezet-véleményezés
2007. október 17..
Az Országos Mediációs Egyesület képviseletében elkészített véleményem „A büntető ügyekben alkalmazható közvetítői tevékenységgel összefüggésben egyes törvények módosításáról szóló törvénytervezetről”, „Az Igazságügyi Hivatalról szóló 303/2006. (XII. 23.) Korm. rendelet módosításáról szóló Korm. rendelet tervezetről”, valamint „A büntető ügyekben közvetítői tevékenységet végző ügyvéd képesítési követelményeiről, díjazásáról és iratkezeléséről szóló IRM rendelet tervezetről” itt olvasható.
Interjú (velem is) a TV2 Strucc c. adásában (október 18.) a politikai mediáció hazai lehetőségeiről
Interview (with me also) in TV2 ('Strucc' - 18 October) abut the chances of mediation in political matters
Hajdú Eszter és Gál Balázs dokumentumfilmet forgatnak olyan személyekkel, akiknek kapcsolata a rendszerváltás után politikai, vagy politikainak vélt okok miatt súlyosan megromlott, akár meg is szakadt.
Eszter Hajdú and Balázs Gál are making a documentary film with people, whose relationships - after the democratic changes - have been damaged or stopped because of their different political views.
Az Európai Mediációs Hálózat konferenciája (2007. szeptember 28-29, Bécs)
2007. október 1.
Közel 300 résztvevővel egyedi eseménynek számít ennek a frissen megalakult hálózatnak a konferenciája, hiszen számos országból és a mediáció gyakorlatának számos területéről érkeztek gyakorló szakemberek. Magyarországról az Országos Mediációs Egyesület szervezésében egy 13 fős delegációval vettünk részt, sokan közülünk előadást is tartottunk a hazai tapasztalatainkról.
Előadásom letölthető itt.
Az Európai Kriminológiai Társaság 7. éves konferenciája (2007. szeptember 26-29, Bologna)
2007. szeptember 30.
Mindenki itt volt, aki számít….Barátaim, tanáraim, kollégáim Cambridge-ből, Leuvenből és Európa egyéb országaiból. Több mint 700 résztvevővel egyszerre vizsgálhattuk a kriminológia különböző elméleti és gyakorlati kérdéseit, és élvezhettük Bologna és az itáliai világ különlegességét. Ida Hydlevel, Anna Mestitz-cel és Arthur Hartmannal egy érdekes panel előadói lehettünk a konferencia során.
Előadásom letölthető itt.
A Család, Gyermek, Ifjúság Egyesület szervezésében megvalósuló AGIS projekt keretén belül egy 13 fős delegációval utaztunk ki Amszterdamba, ahol a családi csoport konferencia és az egyéb resztoratív gyakorlatok megvalósulásáról tartott előadást néhány prominens holland szakember (Rob van Pagée, Dr. John Blad, Robin Linthorst). Számomra nagy élmény volt a hazai igazságügyi és szociális szakmák kiváló szakembereit magába foglaló, multidiszciplináris csapat moderálása és az előadások fordítása számukra. Remélem, az együttműködést Magyarországon is folytatjuk…
Within the framework of the Family, Child, Youth Association’s AGIS project ‘Multidimensional Restorative Justice For All’ (2006/AGIS/171),a group of 13 professionals from Hungary and Romania took part in a study tour in Amsterdam. Participants represented the police, judiciary, social work, child care, policy-making, academic and the NGO sector. The main topic of the trip was the development and practice of restorative justice in the Netherlands, with special focus on the method of family group conferencing (FGC). The professional programme was coordinated by Rob van Pagée, head of the organisation, ‘Eigen Kracht - National Centre for Restorative Action’.
The report of the study tour can be downloaded from here.
Pictures from the study tour can be found here.
Resztoratív gyakorlatok konferenciája, 2007 november 7-9., Flamenco Szálloda, Budapest
2007. augusztus 27.
Rendkívüli alkalommal ez évben a Resztoratív Gyakorlatok Nemzetközi Intézete (IIRP) Budapesten rendezi 10. nemzetközi konferenciáját. A szakmai találkozó a különböző közösségi döntéshozatali módszerek (konferencia-modell, kör-modell, egyéb resztoratív technikák) elméletének és gyakorlatának körbejárását tűzi ki célul.
A három napos konferencia során a résztvevőknek lehetősége nyílik arra, hogy egy átfogó, nemzetközi képet kapjanak a resztoratív gyakorlatok elméletéről és alkalmazásáról, az oktatástól kezdve a szociális ellátáson át egészen a büntetőjogig.
A konferencia első napja (november 7.), amely párhuzamosan angol és magyar nyelvű, tematikus előadásokból és hozzájuk kapcsolódó filmek vetítéséből áll. Az előadásokhoz szinkrontolmácsolást, a filmekhez magyar nyelvű feliratot biztosítunk.
Ennek a napnak egyik fő célja, hogy a hazai résztvevők megoszthassák a bemutatott témákról alkotott véleményeiket a jelenlévőkkel, és bevonódjanak a resztoratív körök általi párbeszédbe.
A konferencia első napja akkreditált továbbképzési program a szociális területen dolgozó szakemberek részére (5 kreditpont, a program engedélyszáma: K-05-008/2006).
A konferencia első napjára interneten és e-mailben lehet jelentkezni. Minden szükséges információ és a regisztrációs lehetőség elérhető a http://www.fellegi.hu/iirp2007.html oldalon.
A konferencia második és harmadik napján (november 8-9.) a rendezvény kizárólag angol nyelven folytatódik, melynek programját a konferencia-felhívásra jelentkezők előadásai alkotják. A konferencia teljes időtartamára az IIRP szervezet honlapján lehet regisztrálni.
IIRP's World Conference in Budapest, Hungary (7-9 November 2007)
27 August 2007
The 10th International Institute for Restorative Practices World Conference — "Improving Citizenship and Restoring Community" — will be held November 7-9, 2007, at the Danubius Hotel Flamenco, in Budapest, Hungary. Co-sponsored by the Community Service Foundation of Hungary and the IIRP, this interdisciplinary conference will provide an international perspective on restorative practices theory and practice in a variety of settings, from education to social welfare to criminal justice.
More information can be available from the IIRP's website.
Training probation officers in Serbia (12 June 2007)
15 June 2007
I have just come back from Belgrade where I gave training on restorative justice for future probation officers (commissioners) of Serbia.
Serbia is currently setting up its probation system and its first probation officers will be selected from the group of professionals, who have been previously worked in prisons as psychologists and educators.
This core group, consisting of 15 people, has been going through several other trainings (provided by experts from Romania, Scotland, Italy and the Netherlands) in order to successfully prepare for their new role in the criminal justice system. Their preparation process and trainings are supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and coordinated by the Council of Europe. The Head of the Department of the Treatment of Prisoners and a representative of the OSCE also participated in the training and provided constant support during the course.
It is not yet clear in what ways will the commissioners’ role be related to mediation and restorative justice due to the fact that the by-laws of mediation have not yet been adopted. However, members of this core group were exceptionally motivated, committed and open to learn about new methods on working with victims and offenders.
This training absolutely convinced me that the probation service’s reform in Serbia will be started with a highly competent group of professionals. I’m sure as soon as the Serbian government gives green light for starting the practice, these people will provide a high level of service and will significantly contribute to the successful implementation of alternative measures in Serbia.
Going South - Seminar in Lisbon on restorative justice (10-12 May 2007)
31 May 2007
The European Forum for Restorative Justice is right after a very successful seminar that was taken place in Lisbon on 10-12 May.
The seminar was organised within the framework of the Forum’s AGIS 3 project. Due to the fact that I was the coordinating researcher of the previous AGIS programme, I had the honour to participate in this event as well and was asked to make a link between the two AGIS programmes.
This AGIS programme’s general objective is “to realise, on the one hand, an effective support to the development of restorative justice in the south of Europe, and, on the other hand, to research what could be the potential role of the European Union in the further development of restorative justice in the whole of the European Union.”
More than 100 participants from more than 20 countries came to this event to discuss the opportunities and limitations/challenges experienced during the implementation of restorative justice in different parts of Europe. An important added value of this event was that a large number of policy-makers could come from countries that are rather in the beginning phase of introducing restorative justice. According to their feedback, the conference pointed out important new aspects of RJ and the information gained during these 3 days will help them in further developing RJ system in their countries.
Some of the presentations are already available from: http://www.euforumrj.org/Activities/seminars.Lisbon.htm
Of course, no reporting without pictures…:).. You can find shots about the nicest memories here.
Family Group Conference training by Rob van Pagée
6 May 2007
I had the honour to be the interpreter at the Family Group Conference training provided by one of the most prominent experts of this method: Rob van Pagée, director of the National Centre for FGC in the Netherlands. The training was organised by the Family, Child, Youth Association.
There were lovely people in the group, mostly social workers, but also teachers, journalists and professionals.
It was an excellent way for me to learn more about this technique by standing on the right of Rob. Not only because their organisation is over 1000 FGC conferences (!) in the Netherlands, therefore he is full of experiences about the practice, but also because he has simply a very nice personality and a very good sense of humour!
RJ projects in Hungary
2 February 2007
For the request of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, I wrote a short overview of RJ programmes operating in Hungary. The summary can be downloaded from here.
30 January 2007
Itt letölthető Barna Erika velem készített rövid interjúja, amely elhangzott a Petőfi Délelőttben (január 10., 9.15-10.00).
Beszélgetés a helyreállító igazságszolgáltatás koncepciójáról és arról, vajon miért lehet ez fontos áldozatoknak, elkövetőknek és az állampolgároknak.
...még talán Magyarországon is.
A short interview made with me in the Hungarian Radio can be downloaded from here (broadcasted on Petőfi channel, 10 January 9.15-10.00) about the underlying concepts of restorative justice. Thoughts about why victims, offenders and the public might be open to it.
...and of course, the never-ending optimism that RJ will work, even in Hungary :)
On 1 January 2007 victim-offender mediation started in Hungary!
12 January 2007
Mediations are carried out by specially trained probation officers, coordinated by the Central Office of Justice under the Ministry of Justice. Referrals can come from the prosecutor, the court, the legal representatives of the parties or from the parties themselves in cases that are not punishable with more than 5 years of prison sentence. Successful mediation can lead to the dismissal of the case in juvenile cases.
Minor crimes (that would be punished with less than 3 years of prison sentence) committed by adults can also be dismissed by the prosecutor. In case of successful mediation in more serious crimes (between 3 and 5 years of prison sentence), the judge can significantly reduce the punishment. Since 2007 is the first year when mediation is applied in the Hungarian criminal justice system, approximately 5-600 cases are expected to be referred to the Probation Service this year. However, in the following years several thousands of cases are expected to be referred to mediation.
On bahalf of those who are working on this issue in Hungary, I would like to thank to the European Forum and to its members for all the help provided during this important legislative and institutional reform.
The next report will hopefully include some concrete cases already!
18 December 2006
This seminar was the second meeting organised as part of the international initiative that aims to create a network of civil servants working in the field of restorative justice. There is an emerging need to establish not only high-quality services, but also comprehensive institutional and legislative framework for restorative justice programmes. This issue has led to the recognition that a formal network of civil servants representing European countries could be highly beneficial (it was one of the results of the previously organised seminar in Vienna in June 2006 of which you can find the summary below on this page).
Such network might be useful in providing a platform for discussing the main issues around implementation (as an obligation for all the Member States according to the Article 10 of the Council Framework Decision of 15 March 2001), as well as can serve as lobbying and legitimising power towards both national governments and the European institutions.
This seminar was organised under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency of the European Union with the cooperation of the Academy of European Law and the European Forum for Restorative Justice. Thanks to the organising work of Aarne Kinnunen, Christa Pelikan, Jolien Willemsens and Ivo Aertsen and the excellent facilitation by Martin Farrell (get2thepoint), almost 100 participants (civil servants, legal practitioners, service providers and researchers) could benefit from the lively discussions around the issues of: the victim’s perspectives, community mediation with immigrants, research in restorative justice, training of service providers and legal practitioners. I personally gave two presentations to share my thoughts firstly, on some of the pitfalls and requirements of effective networking; secondly, on what is recommended to consider while designing a national training system. The seminar ended in a concrete proposal for creating a formal network for civil servants under the European Forum for Restorative Justice. The majority of the participants agreed that the most useful format for this network would be a special (so-called ’monopoly’) status within the European Union that might lead to the formal recognition and financial support by the Commission.
It is clear that the principles and practices of restorative justice are attracting more and more policy makers and civil servants in most of the European jurisdictions. The search for effective responses to wrongdoing, the priority of implementing useful measures in the field of crime prevention, victim support as well as the efficiency issues of criminal justice systems all contribute to the emerging recognition of the restorative approach.
However, creating such a network is not an easy challenge at all. Experts and civil servants dealing with the issues above usually work on numerous criminal justice-related issues at the same time under high time pressure; therefore, the active promotion of maintaining and developing this network will probably be assigned to a small working group assisted by the European Forum.
What is guaranteed meanwhile, that the Forum – which has been providing a constant basis for exchange for many years – will always be available for those interested in networking and discussing restorative justice-related issues on an international level.
The report of the Seminar can be downloaded from here.
The UN Handbook on restorative justice has just been published
15 December 2006
As reported earlier (see below on this page), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime requested a handbook for UN field workers and other interested actors of criminal justice systems across the world to become familiar with the main principles and practice of restorative justice.
The handbook was written by two Canadian experts, Yvon Dandurand and Curt T. Griffths and was reviewed by an expert group of twelve people. I also had the chance to be involved in this process by participating in this group.
The publication is a relatively short but highly informative summary about the main principles, models, mechanisms and guidelines of restorative justice as well as of the primary issues related to its implementation, operation and evaluation. The book includes many practical examples about the ways in which restorative-based approaches have been applied in the different societies and cultures all over the world.
The book, originally in English will be translated to French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic languages.
The full text of the book can be downloaded from here.
For ordering, please send an email to the UNODC.
(ISBN 10: 92-1-133754-2, ISBN 13: 978-92-1-133754-9)
Besides the summary below, you can find some pictures about the expert group meeting held in Vienna on 26- 28 in Vienna here.
Restorative Justice Research in Europe: Outcomes and Challenges - Final Conference of the COST Action A21 (Warsaw 22-24 November 2006)
28 November 2006
Back to 2001, Ivo Aertsen, professor in criminology at the Catholic University of Leuven, further chair of COST Action A21 on “Restorative Justice in Europe” drafted a research project proposal. In it he identified three main areas (evaluation, policy and theory-related research), where more studies would be needed in order to better understand the mechanisms of restorative justice in the European context.
As a result, a research network of around 70 researchers from 21 countries has been formed during the last four years. These researchers have made this proposal real. They – or more precisely, we – have been working initially within three working groups focusing on the areas mentioned above. However, as a result of recent emerging areas in the restorative justice area, a new working group was established in 2005 dealing with the possible application of restorative justice in violent conflicts and mass-victimisation.
The final conference of this COST Action provided half-half day to gain some insight into the main issues of each working group. Hence, almost 100 participants – of whom half were COST members and half were external people – had the opportunity to hear about the main results of the four working groups. Following the COST researchers’ presentations about their research studies, each working group invited a widely known external expert to reflect on the results of the working group, and share their thoughts in these four identified areas. As a consequence, the conference’s programme provided a unique combination of recently finished studies and overall views of experts in the field, such as Joanna Shapland, Gerry Johnstone, Hans-Jürgen Kerner and Laura Stovel.
The conference presentations will be edited in a publication to be published by July 2007. It will be one of the 6 publications by which this COST Action would like to contribute to the international literature on restorative justice. Amongst these one can find the recently published book, titled Institutionalizing Restorative Justice (Willan Publishing, 2006). Further books will provide studies on restorative justice theory, on the comparative legislative analysis of European countries, on the potential of restorative justice in case of mass-victimisation and finally, a special issue of the Contemporary Justice Review can be expected on evaluation research during 2007.
COST meetings and the often long-night research activities have become part of all of our lives in the last four years, therefore it is very difficult to imagine our “life after COST”. However, the main outcome of this Action, namely a stabile international network of around 70 researchers in the field of restorative justice is the guarantee that our cooperation will be continued in the future. It’s good to feel that now you hardly could point at any spot on Europe’s map, where I could not mention some excellent researchers in the field of restorative justice. Moreover, I regard these people not only as potential colleagues from all over the Continent, but also as fantastic friends!
Some pictures from the final conference can be found here.
My presentation about “Training of Legal Professionals” can be downloaded from here.
The full text of the article can be found here.
Restorative Justice Research in Europe: Outcomes and Challenges - Final Conference of the COST Action A21 (University of Warsaw 22-24 November 2006 )
10 October 2006
After 4 years of intensive exchange and work, the 70 members of COST Action A21 on ‘Restorative Justice Developments in Europe’ are happy to invite you to their final conference. The conference is open to a large public interested in research results and questions related to restorative justice practice, policy and theory.
During the conference, the results of four Working Groups will be presented and discussed, centred around four domains:
- evaluative research on restorative justice practices
- policy oriented research
- restorative justice theory
- restorative justice, violent conflicts and mass victimisation.
Non-COST members are kindly invited to present restorative justice related research papers.
Organising Committee: Ivo Aertsen, Jana Arsovska, Doina Balahur, Ida Hydle, Rob Mackay, Michael Kilchling, Michal Jacksa, Dobrochna Wojcik
Chair of the Conference: Doina Balahur
Registration form, programme and practical information: on the website of the European Forum for Restorative Justice.
Paper proposals (abstracts) should be addressed to Doina Balahur no later than 1Novem- ber 2006.
If you have any question about the Hungarian participation in this COST Action or about the conference, please don't hesitate to contact me.
The Hungarian research team was mainly involved in the 'Working Group on Policy-oriented Research'. The paper that we will present in Warsaw and about our other activities in COST you can read more under 'Research Activities'.
Hope to see you there!
Egy lépéssel közelebb
a magyarországi büntetőjogi mediáció bevezetéséhez
One step further towards the implementation of victim-offender mediation in Hungary
Following the lively debates, exciting games and thought-provoking comments, many participants expressed that thanks to these films it was the very first time that they were able to imagine what VOM might mean in reality. They have gained more confidence in themselves and – despite the lack of experience in Hungary – many of them now feel readiness to start the practice soon.
During this process, as consultant of the COJ I tried to give an overview about my experiences with RJ in abroad. It was good to feel, that after being an ‘external ’ observer in England, Belgium, USA and some Central and Eastern European countries for several years, finally I have become an ‘internal’ contributor of the Hungarian developments.
Being a sociologist-criminologist among many economists (GDN conference in Prague, 9-11 August 2006)
21 August 2006
It was very challenging to participate in the conference organised within the framework of the Global Development Network’s Regional Research Competition in Prague at the CERGE-EI Postgraduate Economics University. The Global Development Network (GDN) is a worldwide network of research and policy institutes. One of its main projects is to announce the so-called Regional Research Competitions in every year. This activity is funding research projects in developing and transition countries.
The majority of the funded projects are in the field of economics and econometrics. Therefore, we were very happy (and a bit surprised) with my colleague, Jana Arsovska (Macedonia), who is the project coordinator, that GDN decided to fund our project.
However, as you might guess, our project is not about economics; it is about sociology and criminology. Its title is: “Changing lenses: the meaning of violence and crime in an ethnic Albanian context”.
Within this study we are trying to map some underlying social and cultural mechanisms that can be behind the Albanian organised crime activities. It is a very exciting theme and I have to say, many economists were a bit envious of us for having such a “flashy” research topic.
I was particularly happy that thanks to this project I could meet Jana again (whom I know from Belgium). She is a great friend and a great colleague. With her even the toughest topics and tasks seem merely fun and discovery.
Now we are in the middle phase of the project. I will definitely let you know once we have gained more information about why Albanian criminal groups are so violent and frightening everywhere in the world.
I hope we will survive it…:)
You can find some pictures about the conference here.
Restorative Justice in the European Judicial Area: Current Practice and Future Strengthening of Networking (26-28 June 2006, Vienna)
29 June 2006
A unique and highly useful seminar was organised under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency of the European Union with the cooperation of the Institut für Rechts- und Kriminalsoziologie, Vienna, the European Forum for Restorative Justice and the Academy of European Law in Trier, financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Justice.
The main speciality of the event was that – for the very first time within the EU-level promotion of restorative justice – a particular attention was paid to invite government officials, on the one hand, and service providers, on the other. Consequently, the conference also had a dual objective: supporting international networking as well as stimulating the exchange and cooperation between the governmental and service provider sector within the countries represented.
Participants represented the 25 Members States of the EU as well as Iceland, Norway Romania and Bulgaria. The international community was represented by special guests from the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The conference had three main objectives: firstly, to improve the understanding of the progress which each participating country has made in implementing the Council Framework Decision of 15 March 2001 and of the range of different restorative justice models; secondly, to make recommendations about what could be done by governments and service providers in EU countries to improve cooperation across national borders and specifically how this could happen; and finally, to make recommendations about how cooperation between government and service providers within countries could be improved.
At first glance, these objectives might seem to be quite ambitious. However, I would fully agree with Dr. Christa Pelikan, host of the event, who concluded that by the end of the two and a half days significant and highly visible steps were taken in effectively helping future cooperation both between and within the countries. As a Hungarian participant and previous staff member of the European Forum I found the seminar an ideal context for both national and international networking activities.
If I should name the most important elements to achieve this success, I would highlight two points: firstly, providing space for small-group interactive group work as much as possible; secondly, inviting the most relevant policy-makers and experts from the field to take part in these discussions. Both of these ‘ingredients’ were perfectly provided due to the excellent organisation and the highly professional chairing that was provided by Martin Farrell (UK), consultant and director of the organisation “get2thepoint”.
All the presentations, discussions and notes from the flipcharts will be integrated into a consistent report. It will hopefully serve not only as documentation of the seminar but also as a useful strategic manual for the participants to further develop their policies in the field of restorative justice.
The next conference will be organised under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency on 11–12 December 2006. Probably the extreme Vienna heat will turn into an extreme Helsinki frost, but, at least, it can illustrate that restorative justice can be emerged under any circumstances…:)
If you are interested in some photos taken during the conference, you can find them here.
Restorative Justice and Beyond – Fourth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (15-17 June 2006, Barcelona)
19 June 2006
The fourth conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice intended to broaden the perspective on restorative justice whilst retaining the core topic of ‘justice’. In this conference, the European Forum, for the first time, explored in detail what lies beyond the ‘classical’ application of restorative justice. The conference provided space for looking beyond the law and touching upon the relation of restorative justice not only to criminal justice, but also to distributive and social justice.
The central topic of the conference was how social responses to harmful acts could better meet the needs of victims, as well as how wrongdoers could take responsibility for their acts and make reparation to their victims and the community.
Harm can be caused by everyday social interactions, criminal offences, but also by abuse of political power or wars. Accordingly, the conference provided place for presentations discussing the potential of the restorative justice philosophy in community and school settings, in less and in more serious crimes as well as in post-war countries where masses of human beings became victims of harm-causing.
Almost 300 participants from 33 countries and the nearly 50 presentations that were given together with the high number of interactive workshops provided a highly interdisciplinary milieu in which both the theoretical as well as the practical issues of restorative justice could be explored in more details.
It was emphasised that on the one hand we need to search for the ways in which the restorative approach can be effectively spread in different spheres of our social lives. On the other hand, we need to keep our critical approach concerning the existing programmes and regularly monitor whether the practice still reflects to the initial principles.
As Lode Walgrave concluded, similarly to Sisyphus, we might never manage to roll the rock to the top of the hill, since punishment and violence can hardly be eliminated in the world.
Nevertheless, we need to keep pushing the rock and promote non-violent conflict resolution approaches in every possible ways.
We should keep our faith that people – wherever they are – are able and willing to actively take part in building/maintaining social harmony in their lives...
The conference programme is available here.
My presentation at the conference is available here.
The photos about the conference can be seen here.
Nordic Conference on Mediation and Conflict Management (26-28 May 2006, Helsinki)
30 May 2006
Almost 400 mediators from around 40 European countries met in this Northern point of Europe to discuss and further develop the potential of mediation in various types of conflicts. This event provided a great opportunity to gain deeper insights into the practice of family mediation, school mediation, victim-offender mediation, court mediation, mediation at work place, community mediation and international peace mediation in all over Europe.
The possibility of meeting experts from all these different fields clearly showed how holistically and effectively can mediation be applied in various contexts, regardless from the location or the content of the dispute.
I was happy to participate in a panel about victim-offender mediation. I gave an overview on some of the main tendencies that can be perceived in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Hungary concerning the implementation of victim-offender mediation.
And just a personal note: I was really honoured to meet and talk Nils Christie, who is considered as the ‘father’ of mediation in Europe.
His thoughts helped me remembering the underlying principles of the work I am doing, such as always staying open to dialogues, respecting the choices of other people and avoiding to become an ‘over-professionalised’ expert in mediation (that is originally the art of the ordinary people).
And, although we all work for success, he reminded us: “Success is of course fine, but, on the other hand, it is not fine. Nothing can destroy so much as success.”
It is good to keep it in mind….
Restorative Justice study trip in England and in the USA (28 March - 4 May)
7 May 2006
I have just come back from a 5-weeks long study trip during which I visited different types of organisations in England and in USA applying restorative justice in various contexts. My research trip was based on shadowing practitioners, participant observations and qualitative interviews conducted with professionals, victims and offenders. By these methods I aimed to gain a deeper insight into the different ways of applying the principles and techniques of restorative justice in
- school settings
- the social welfare and child protection system
- community development and neighbourhood contexts
- hate-crime issues and
- the criminal justice system, with special regard to the activities of the police, youth offending teams, the probation service and the prisons.
My further analysis of this research trip will focus on the commonalities and differences of the various models used in the different contexts. On the one hand it will discuss the main principles of restorative justice that are fundamental elements of each model; on the other hand it will highlight the ways in which these elements can be combined in a flexible way in order to fit in the given legal, institutional and systemic framework of certain projects.
Let me hereby thank to all the professionals for their fantastic hospitality and support they provided during my visit. I am also grateful to the COST Action A21 and to the Doctoral School of the ELTE University Faculty of Social Sciences for the financial support provided for this trip.
Broadening the scope of restorative justice - Meeting–series in Tel Aviv, Israel (1 - 6 March 2006)
13 March 2006
The last week in Tel Aviv was an unforgettable journey not only geographically, but also scientifically.
From 1–3 March all the Working Groups as well as the Management Committee of our COST Action A21 were invited to Israel for our last meeting before the Action closing final conference.
Within the framework of the different working groups, almost 40 researchers from 20 countries were dealing with the following issues:
1) evaluative research;
2) policy-oriented research;
3) theoretical issues of restorative justice and
4) the potential of the restorative approach in mass victimisation and inter-ethnic violence.
Following the three working days, we could celebrate Shabbat by a fabulous trip to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and to the Negev Desert.
You can find a short film about the trip here.
On 5 March a thought-provoking workshop was organised by the Bar-Ilan University on the “Contact hypothesis and its limits in managing ethno-national conflicts”.
We could hear interesting presentations about the situation in Northern Ireland, in Cyprus, in the Balkans and in the Middle East, with special focus on the potential of inter-group contacts and encounter programmes in peace-making processes.
An international conference was organised for the final day about the applicability of restorative justice in serious violence (chaired by Dr. Beni Jakob). The presentations and workshops gave very interesting insights into the ways of handling violence both in “conventional crimes” as well as in inter-ethnic conflicts.
We had no problems with sitting in conference rooms days after days, two minutes from the sunny beach. However, it was difficult to accept our human and scientific limitations in significantly influencing complex societal and political processes, especially when the main issues include violence vs. agreement or war vs. peace.
Nevertheless, it was fascinating to see the commitment in the participants’ eyes showing that sometimes we can achieve more in restoring social harmony by “small hopes” than by “big dreams”.
You can find a lot of pictures about our days in Tel Aviv here.
Expert Meeting for reviewing the UN Handbook on Restorative Justice
6 February 2006
Let me briefly report on a two-days long scientific trip, on an Expert Group Meeting organised by the Criminal Justice Reform Unit of he UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) that was organised on 30 – 31 January in Vienna.
The meeting’s objective was to review the draft text of the Handbook on Restorative Justice to be published in mid-2006. This publication is one of a series of practical tools developed by UNODC to support countries in the implementation of the rule of law and the development of criminal justice reform. The handbook is prepared for criminal justice officials, NGO workers, policy-makers and UN field officers who are working on improving current responses to crime and conflict in their community.
Altogether 16 people were invited for the meeting from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, Hungary, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, USA and Venezuela.
During the two days we were reviewing page by page the draft version of the handbook written by two Canadian experts, Yvon Dandurand from the University College of the Fraser Valley and Curt Griffiths from the School of Criminology at the Simon Fraser University. The meeting was held under the relaxed but efficient chairmanship of Mark Shaw, Chief of the Criminal Justice Reform Unit of the UNODC.
The focused work provided a unique opportunity for discussing various conceptual issues of restorative justice. The fact that the final text should give a consistent overview about restorative justice in not more than hundred pages was an interesting challenge for all of us: on the one hand it stimulated lively discussions about the main conceptual issues of restorative justice; on the other hand, it highlighted the importance of finding the common ground amongst us.
Throughout the comments of the experts it was fascinating to gain a picture about the wide range of sociological backgrounds, criminal justice models, the various restorative practices evolved in different contexts as well as about the different theoretical approaches all over the world. Nevertheless, it was clear that there is a significant need for implementing and developing restorative justice both in the highly urbanised Euro-Atlantic as well as in the more traditional developing societies. No matter how current political, economical and criminal justice systems look in a certain country, the importance of peace and community-based constructive conflict handling methods is equally important both in an Egyptian village as well as in any neighbourhood of New York City.
Last but not least, it was encouraging to see the commitment of the United Nations in supporting and promoting the development of restorative justice in its member states. The publication will unquestionably help the everyday work of restorative justice advocates not only by its content but also by symbolising the importance and legitimacy of this approach all over the world.
5 January 2006
In December 2005 the Hungarian Ministry of Justice has sent the draft law on Mediation in Criminal Cases out for professional consultation. The text of the draft can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Justice.
I was requested by the Hungarian Mediation Association to prepare a commentary on the draft. The commentary can be downloaded here.
Meanwhile, the Office for Justice Affairs (the name is not an official translation) has been launched by the Ministry of Justice in January 2006. This Office is a joint institute that has been responsible for the probation service (since 2003) and for providing legal aid for socially disadvantaged people (since 2004). In the future the Office will be responsible also for arranging the compensation of crime victims and for providing mediation between victims and offenders.
16 December 2005
I had the opportunity to participate in a very useful workshop organised by Prof. Dr. Arthur Hartmann at the University of Public Administration in Bremen, Germany on 14 - 16 December. Together with other 6 participants from Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Ukraine, we could share our experiences, results and problems concerning collecting statistical data in the field of restorative justice. From the results of this shared experience, we discussed the possibilities for establishing minimum standards for statistics in the field of victim-offender mediation.
Our further goal is to formulate a template to make those results accessible in a more structured, easily receivable way that could be beneficial both for national data recording as well as for further international comparative studies. We agreed on continuing our cooperation and to invite other experts to join this process. This small network will continue to work in the framework of the COST Action A21 and within the Research Committee of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. The scientific report of the workshop will be available on the website of the COST Action A21. You can also find some pictures about the meeting here.
I moved back to Budapest
12 December 2005
I have finished my work and a fantastic 1.5 year at the Secretariat of the European Forum for Restorative Justice in Leuven. I moved back to Budapest (Hungary) where I am currently working on my PhD research focusing on the possibilities of implementing restorative justice in the Hungarian criminal justice and social protection system.
After my studies at the University of Cambridge in England and my work in Belgium with colleagues from all over Europe (from 15 - 20 countries) as a coordinator of an AGIS project, I do feel it is time to use some of my experiences in the Hungarian context. Working with the staff members and experts of the European Forum within the unique academic atmosphere of the University of Leuven was an unforgettable period for me both professionally and scientifically. However, what is more important, I realised that we can learn how to cooperate with each other and how to apply the underlying principles of restorative justice in our everyday work and communication with our colleagues as well. This is what I would mainly like bring home and try in the Hungarian context.
But we all know: the proof of the pudding is in the eating...