My history with Restorative Practices

As a youth worker 16 years ago, I advocated and agitated for Restorative Justice to be adopted and implemented in the broader Northern Territory community.

Mandatory sentencing was still in place in 2000 which motivated me to lobby for better opportunities for youth. But more importantly I wanted to be a part of a proactive and preventive approach to changing behaviour and saw a great need for NT Education to adopt the practices. My formal RJ training took place in 2001 and I gained international qualifications not long after through the International Institute for Restorative Practices. Partnered with Real Justice Australia, we gained funding from the NT Department of Justice to work with NT Education and had 4 schools involved in a 3 year pilot project. To the best of my knowledge 2 of those 3 schools still use RJ in 2016.

In 2005  I spoke at the International Institute for Restorative Practices Conference and attended a gathering of what was to become “Restorative Practices International”, a network for international practitioners, trainers and educators.

For the first 6 years of being involved in RJ I was diligent in both my personal and professional practice. Facilitating hundreds of informal and formal conferences, my faith in the process was so deep I even participated in a formal process as a victim of sexual assault.

As life would have it by 2006 I gave up formal RJ training and facilitation. While I moved away from the RJ community, the practices never left my head or my heart. In fact Restorative Practices had become so ingrained in my daily practice I came to realise it had become my default.

Since 2007 I have had colleagues, crown prosecutors, educators and confidants plead with me to return to the fold. Many reasons compounded the declining of those invites, particularly the demands on my time. But it was also about my deep need to figure out better ways to train for more sustainable outcomes.

Fast forward to 2016 and requests for me to provide Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices training continue. While I’ve been a card carrying member of Restorative Practices International for almost a decade and have always built RP into the strategic leadership development, cultural change and workplace mentoring that I do, I just couldn’t bring myself to offer formal Restorative Practices training. Until now.

Joining Restorative Practices International Board of Directors in November 2015 became a public acknowledgement of my commitment to the field and in some ways felt like the floodgates opened. Emails requesting Restorative Practices training continue and rather than say no, I have started negotiations. One of the first things I did was reach out to my trusted colleague and mentor Marg Thorsborne to do a refresher course with her.

Although I’ve known Marg for more than a decade, participating in her 3 day training gave me the validation and confidence I needed. As an international trainer, speaker and well published author, her style deeply resonated with mine. Her training is packed with a lot more content than what I was trained in and I loved it. My prior learning came back to me, including the reasons why I fell truly, madly and deeply in love with restorative justice practices. Helping people resolve hurt and harm to heal relationships helps us all live happier healthier lives.

Here’s a snapshot of what participants of Marg’s 3 day training said:

Whether it’s formal or informal training that you are after hit that big pink button in the bottom right corner to book a call now. Be proactive and preventative! Find out how Restorative Practices can benefit your organisation today.