Restorative Justice in the Ukraine

25. November, 2009


Roman Koval
Alyona Gorovaya

Foto: Carsten Pihl

We still consider the preservation of the value basis of restorative justice, ensuring the development of practice in line with the wider understanding of principles of RJ and an attentive and careful attitude to cultural traditions and roots of cooperation and restorative approaches to the development of the community to be the main task of the further promotion and implementation of RJ in the Ukraine.

Development of the model: from restorative justice to restorative practices

The process of developing a model for the implementation of restorative practices started in 2003 with several pilot projects sites in various regions of the Ukraine where the programme for eliminating the harm caused in criminal cases (or mediation between victims and offenders) was tested in practice. As result of the project precedents were established for applying restorative justice in the country that allowed to persuade representatives of the legal system about the topicality and the necessity of developing mediation of victims and offenders. The analysis of the acquired experience also highlighted aspects of the programme that needed improvement. It was decided, in particular, to attract additional resources with the aim of providing social and legal assistance to participants of medication. The assessment of the given initiative revealed the considerable positive impact of the said services on the subsequent process of reintegrating victims and offenders into the community, their social-psychological recovery after the traumatizing experience.

In 2007 specialists working in the area of restorative justice in the Ukraine, focused their attention on the prevention of the commission of offences and crimes. As a result a three-tier model was developed for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. This model is based on the restorative approach and provides various restorative practices for minors with the aim of developing positive models of behaviour and of the recognition of social values.

The introduction of restorative justice in communities has generated a demand from representatives of communities, in particular representatives of local enforcement bodies, to develop restorative practices not only in the area of the criminal law but also in family cases, arguments among neighbours as well as in local decision-making processes, schools etc. Thus, at present, in the Ukraine considerable attention is paid to developing restorative practices in various areas of activity which, in turn, promotes the development of a more open, active and tolerant community at large.

The first steps: mediation in criminal cases

The first experiment in implementing restorative justice in the Ukraine was undertaken by the charity organisation „Ukrainian Centre of Concord” (hereinafter the UCC) with the support of the European Commission in 2003-2005. The aim of this Project was to approbate mediation between victims and offenders, to adapt the procedure to local conditions and to develop a mechanism for interaction with the legal system. A particularly important task was to acquire confirmation for the possibility of using these forms of resolving criminal conflicts in the Ukraine. At the beginning of the project implementation representatives of the legal system and of the civic society expressed some doubt concerning the possibility of developing „this Western innovation” in the conditions of the Ukraine.

Within the frame of this Project the first group of mediators in criminal cases were trained, involving trainers from Poland and specialists on conflict resolution from the Ukraine.

Seven regions of the Ukraine were included in the implementation of the Project: regional and district centres from various parts of the country. The whole of the first Project year was dedicated to preparation. The total number of mediations conducted between victims and offenders during the Project implementation period exceeded 50.

Centres of restorative justice in communities

At the beginning of 2006 specialists on implementing restorative justice came to the conclusion about the necessity of enhancing the positive impact of restorative justice through its combination with support programmes for participants of conflict situations in communities: social support?? социальное сопровождение, the provision of psychological and legal advice etc. Besides, in order to ensure the viability of restorative justice programmes a decision was taken to involve resources of local authorities. A strong motivating fact for representatives of municipalities was the fact that similar programmes were an effective instrument n preventing crime in the community and an element of developing local public security policies.

At the end of 2006 experts developed a model of a restorative justice centre (hereinafter the RJC) in a community – an entity (organisation) aimed at implementing a restorative systemic approach to the conflict situation resolution process (first and foremost, criminal conflict situations) by actively involving local community resources for developing a secure environment and for activating members of the local community.

The restorative approach is a systemic approach to resolving conflict situations what includes the restoration of the social-psychological condition destroyed as a result of the conflict, ties and attitudes to life of its participants and their social environment; the remedying of the harm caused by the conflict.

Two basic factors lie at the basis of the restorative approach:

  • The empowerment of the community with the aim of activating its internal resources for work with criminal situations including the prevention of anti-social behaviour and the development of a secure environment. This principle also means an active involvement of the „key players” (participants of the conflict situation: the victim, the offender, their social stratum) in the process of addressing the conflict/problem.
  • The delegation of authority and responsibility for prevention and work with consequences of criminal situations to the community and the immediate participants of criminal conflicts as well as the decision-making process as well as for the process of executing the taken decision. It also includes a certain limitation of the role of professionals as concerns prevention and work with consequences of criminal situations.
  • The necessity to reconsider the third component „the activation and involvement of community resources” has been determined, first and foremost, by principles of the restorative approach, that prescribe an active involvement of members of the community in supporting security in the community. Besides, the community is most efficient in performing the social control function, i.e., it exercises a direct influence on the crime level in the socium.

    As of November 2006 ten partner organisations started to implement in its operation elements of the RJC model within the frame of the project „Development of a network of restorative justice centres in the communities”. First and foremost, it presupposed the development of three basic components: the implementation of restorative justice programmes; the application of a systemic approach to the provision of services to clients of the centre; and the involvement of community resources, in particular, cooperation with local authorities.

    The operation of RJC in communities demonstrated their high effectiveness. First and foremost because centres acted as the coordinating body in work with victims and offenders. Public, municipal and non-governmental organisations in each community that participated in the Project, were involved in the provision of services to participants of criminal conflicts. All the above entities gave a positive evaluation to the initiative of a systemic approach to providing services to victims and offenders as well as to the central coordinating role of the restorative justice centre.

    It should be mentioned that the establishment of interaction among all subjects in the process of work with participants of criminal conflicts (the legal system, public, municipal services and non-governmental bodies, educational institutions etc.) also allowed improving the quality of services and to simplify the accessibility of restorative justice programmes for clients. Thus, during the period of four months more than 200 mediations between victims and offenders were held, while only 50 mediations had been undertaken during the preceding two years.

    The three-tier model of juvenile delinquency prevention

    The necessity of developing a complex innovative model for preventing juvenile delinquency was determined by the need for a new more effective system for preventing crime and reacting to offences committed by juveniles. The new understanding of crime prevention principles is based on the recommendations of the European Union, documents of the UN and the UNICEF concerning the contemporary experience in juvenile justice, the experience accumulated in Canada, Switzerland and other European countries in juvenile delinquency prevention.

    The three-tier model of prevention ensures the reduction of the crime rate and protects interests of the community in the following way:

  • prevents offences by eliminating their potential causes and circumstances that can stimulate juveniles to commit offences (the pro-active approach);
  • presupposes the active participation of the community in the rehabilitation process of children and young persons at conflict with the law or demonstrating deviant behaviour — the provision of support and assistance in the process of resocialisation and reintegration (inclusion into the community);
  • creates prerequisites to enable young persons to assume responsibility for their actions: awareness of consequences of their actions and focusing their actions on amending the harm incurred as well as the restoration of relations and peace in the community (the restorative approach).
  • The model for preventing juvenile delinquency takes into account peculiarities of the psychic and physical condition of young persons during their personality development period when they particularly need the support and care of adults and that is why they should bear fair and proportional responsibility for their actions.

    The model is based on respect for public values and it is focused on developing a respectful attitude in juveniles (and in the community at large) to humane moral values, respect for the personality as well as gender, ethnic, cultural and language differences that exist in the community.

    Finally, the model recognizes rights and freedoms of the child consolidated by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular, the right to be heard and to participate in the process of taking decisions that have an impact on the child’s life.

    The main distinctive feature of the model is that it pools all its resources for preventing crime among minors. First and foremost, it is the involvement of representatives of the legal system, local authorities, social services and non-governmental organisations who establish a coordinating council. Such a council has the authority to take decisions to adapt and ensure the functioning of the model at the city, district or regional level. The coordinating council also provides assistance in establishing a multi-disciplinary team, that includes representatives of the respective services of the community. Members of the multi—disciplinary council include specialists who have got involved to provide direct assistance in each specific case, thus ensuring a complex approach to work with children and the youth who demonstrate deviant or delinquent behaviour.

    The three tiers of juvenile delinquency prevention differ in target groups, the applicable methods and instruments of work.

    Тhe tertiary prevention is focused on teenagers/children who have committed offences 9or crimes). Thus, the purpose of prevention at this level is their rehabilitation and reintegration into the community to prevent repeat offending. For these purposes respective community resources are involved and a supportive environment is created that helps eliminating causes of criminal behaviour.

    The main instrument of the model at this level is the programme of restorative justice: (1) mediation between victims and offenders, (2) the circle of the community (or support, conciliation etc.), (3) the family conference etc. The RJC provides services for implementing restorative justice programmes in the community.

    An important element of restorative justice programmes is the link with social services in the community that may provide the required assistance in the offender’s reintegration process (e.g.: the treatment of alcoholic and drug addictions, psychiatric/psychological assistance and social work with a teenager and, possibly, his/her immediate social environment). A very important role in this process is played by the multi-disciplinary team that is involved, if required, in the restorative justice programme by the coordinator of the RJC in the community.

    For example, when an inspector of the militia on children’s affairs involves the coordinator of the RCJ in prevention activities concerning a violation of the law (or a minor has confessed that he/she has committed a violation of the law), he can also inform about the complicated social conditions of the child (unsatisfactory support provided by parents, neglect, begging in the streets etc.). In this case the coordinator of the RJC will, most probably, involve a social worker already at the beginning of work with the teenager. The social worker will participate in the mediation procedure (the family conference, the circle of the community) and will help to formulate and implement a plan of rehabilitation for the young person.

    Secondary prevention is required when an administrative violation or any other manifestation of the deviant behaviour of a minor has been recorded, that do not fall under any article of the Criminal Code of the Ukraine. In this case the coordinator of the RJC may apply the mechanism of reacting and the further work with the minor is similar to the process undertaken at the tertiary level of prevention. However, if the case is less serious, prevention activities are performed by the school service of concord (SSC), it is coordinated by a practical psychologist or a social pedagogue from the multi-disciplinary team. The activities of the SSC are mostly related to the secondary prevention of crime – conflict resolution and reaction to manifestations of deviant behaviour among school children. The work of the school service as well as the whole model for preventing crime, is based on principles of the restorative approach. An important element of this approach is „equal to equal”, i.e., the preventive activities are performed mostly by senior pupils who have undergone special training. Senior pupils are neutral mediators in conflict resolution among school children, they perform circle procedures in classes and at prevention sessions. It must be pointed out that the majority of conflicts at schools where such a school service exists, are resolved without the intervention of adults or without applying disciplinary measures. The main advantage of this type of reaction is that due to the participation in conflict resolution procedures pupils acquire another form of developing relations with their peers. The SSC also on group conflict resolution and the development of a secure environment at the educational institution – they conduct the so-called „circles” for settling a specific problem, for taking a decision, in support one of the participants etc.

    If a complicated (crisis) situation has developed in the family of the minor, the coordinator of the SSC studies possibilities of conducting a family group conference or of taking other measures of family counselling and social assistance. The family group conference is a programme of the restorative approach, aimed at resolving specific problems or eliminating the crisis in the family, supporting family members in the process of taking and implementing a decision. Members of the multi-disciplinary team provide the required support resources if the family applies for help.

    Primary prevention is aimed at providing assistance in developing the constructive social interaction of minors (socially acceptable, law-abiding behaviour). At this level the main subjects of preventive activities are the system of education and the SSC, during the training and “circles” they provide value-oriented training for minors to enable them to acquire constructive interaction skills.

    Restorative practices in communities

    Close cooperation with communities in various regions of the Ukraine has revealed that small communities are keenly interested in the development of restorative justice and in applying the restorative approach in conflicts that are related not only to criminal situations. Upon the analysis of the situation we came to the conclusion that the restorative justice for smaller communities is a possibility of the actual participation of citizens (including representatives of municipalities) in the life of the community, a possibility of presenting their view on decision-making processes at the local level. The implementation of principles of the restorative approach in decision-making processes and/or conflict resolution in various areas of the community life stimulates the development of the feeling of responsibility and involvement of citizens in the life of the community. Moreover, results of the implementation of the three-tier model for preventing juvenile delinquency revealed the high effectiveness of the comprehensive implementation of the restorative approach in one of the areas of public life. Thus, the next step in developing the restorative approach in the Ukraine was evident – the implementation of restorative practices, i.e., the development of the value-oriented model for conflict resolution and decision-making at the community level.

    It must be noted that in order to develop and acquire stability public initiatives should develop in the context of the local social policy that requires the involvement of representatives of the local executive agencies and local government bodies already at the stage of developing innovative programmes in the community. At the local government level there is a real possibility and practical mechanisms for approving and supporting social programmes in the community. That is why the task of the work group on developing the model for the implementation of restorative practices in communities is to describe strategies for ensuring the viability of RJ in communities, starting with the study of the needs of the community and ending up with the stable functioning of restorative justices in the community.

    The coordination of the process of introducing and implementing restorative practices in the community becomes the task of the RJC which is supported in its operation by local government bodies. Thus, the following may be included among the areas of the activities of the RJC:

  • Restorative justice (mediation between victims and offenders; fora of public justice, circles of conciliation, circles of support etc.)
  • Restorative practices in the community (mediation in conflict and dispute resolution, the family mediation, procedures of reaching a consensus in the community, decision-making circles etc.)
  • Restorative practices in the system of education (peer mediation, circles of values, decision-making circles etc.)
  • The approbation of the given model is at the stage of design and coordination, including coordination with representatives of municipalities. However, even at present the necessity of the design and testing of such an innovation is obvious as the latter promotes the activation of the community and the implementation of principles of democracy in public life.

    Strategy for promoting restorative practices. Legislative base

    There is sufficient legislative base in the Ukraine for developing the practice of restorative justice in the criminal justice system. A more serious obstacle for the further development of this practice is the absence of the political will at the Parliament and the higher corridors of power to support social programmes and the non-governmental sector, which at present has assumed the responsibility for implementing restorative practices in the Ukraine. Thus, for example, practically no mechanism of the social demand механизм социального заказа has been developed and functions, still there is evidence of the painful dependence of all governmental agencies from centralised decision-making mechanisms and of the absence of exact direction of governmental policy in many significant areas of work, including crime prevention in general and juvenile justice in particular.

    As concerns the legislative base, it must be noted that at the time of the appearance of the first RC programmes in the Ukraine, neither restorative justice nor mediation in criminal cases had been mentioned in legal acts of the Ukraine. The only exception was the 5 April 2001 scientific-practical commentary of N.I.Melnik and N.I.Havronyuk to the Criminal Code of the Ukraine, indicating that Article 46 consolidated the institute of mediation, incorporated in the legislation of foreign countries as an alternative way of regulating criminal legal conflicts with the help of mediation in conciliating the parties. The Article speaks about „release from criminal liability in view of the conciliation of the guilty party and the victim”. The Article applies to less serious crime, committed for the first time if the offender has reached conciliation with the victim, compensated for the damages or eliminated the incurred damage. Likewise during the review of possible legal consequences of mediation in criminal cases Article 45 should be mentioned, whish also provides the closing of the criminal case in view of the actual remorse. Remorse is „actual” if the offender provides active support in detecting the crime as well as sincerely regrets the committed offence and compensates for the damages to the victim. It is possible to imagine that during the process of this or any other restorative justice programme parties agree on further patronage, to use the official legalese – to give warranty for the offender. In this case Article 476 can be applied in cases of petty crimes or less serious crimes. Likewise court in the Ukraine may free a minor (under the age of 18) from criminal liability if the minor has committed a petty crime or a crime of medium severity, imposing coercive educational measures[1] on the minor on the basis of Articles 97 and 105 of the Criminal Code of the Ukraine. Results of mediation can also be taken into account by court upon taking the decision on mitigating circumstances in compliance with Article 66 of the Criminal Code.

    Due to the support of the Supreme Court of the Ukraine the development of the first restorative justice programmes were considerably promoted by Resolutions of the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court of the Ukraine:

    № 5 «On Practice in Applying Legislation by Courts in Cases of Crimes Committed by Minors » оf 16 April 2004;

    № 13 оf 2 July 2004 «On Practice in Applying Legislation Providing Rights of Victims of Crimes » and

    № 2 оf 15 May 2005 «On Practice of Judicial Review of Cases Concerning the Imposition of Coercive Educational Measures».

    In the above Resolutions the Supreme Court recommended judges to cooperate with non-governmental organisations developing the practice of conciliation, providing them with the respective information, to inform parties of the proceedings about the activities of these organisations and to take results of mediation into account in the adjudication of the case.

    At the time the majority of RJ activists were convinced that a special law would be a mandatory prerequisite for the further development of RJ in the Ukraine. A special work group was established at the Ministry of Justice of the Ukraine who started its work by formulating the concept for the legislative regulation of mediation in criminal cases. The given concept served as the basis for draft laws (on mediation in criminal cases and on the respective amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code). The drafted documents passed through several stages of discussion, first within the work group itself, then among specialists on RJ and sectoral agencies and bodies of the legal system of the Ukraine. When the draft laws were ready (although, undeniably, they were far from ideal), as it often happens, pragmatic interests gained the upper hand. Experts of the European Union were involved in the work on the draft law, who at the same time implemented a Project on introducing alternative types of conflict resolution in the Ukraine. The temptation to kill two birds with one stone won – and the draft law on mediation in criminal cases became a draft law on mediation in general (at present alongside with criminal cases it applies also to civil and economic disputes). It is evident that it only complicated the text and reduced the chances of the progress of the law at the Parliament in the form that it has at present. The situation developed to a point when at the respective stage of coordination with the Cabinet of Ministers the Secretariat proposed deleting medication in criminal cases from the document altogether and to approve it in the updated form. Fortunately, the Ministry of Justice stood on its point of view, however, until now the draft law has not been submitted to any of the Parliamentary committees… Besides at present the necessity of adopting such a law is not at all that evident. Moreover, there is an apprehension that if the law is enacted in its present form, it may only obstruct the further development of practice due to the excessive regulation of procedures that has been incorporated in the law.

    At the time of the work on draft laws, practice developed along its own course and gradually an understanding emerged that in actual fact Ukrainian legislation contained a sufficient amount of norms allowing to develop RJ practice without a special law on RJ. As we know, German legislation does not differ considerably from Ukrainian legislation in this respect, while any of the European Union member states may envy the development level of RJ practice. Thus, for example, Articles 23 and 23(1) of the Ukrainian Criminal Procedure Code speak directly about the fact that during the investigation, the pre-trial stage and the court hearings the investigator and the prosecutor have the duty of identifying causes and conditions that have stimulated the commission of the crime and they should send written statements to public agencies or non-governmental organisations with the aim of undertaking measures to eliminate the identified causes and conditions. As we know, RJ programmes are among the most effective means for preventing repeat offending (in particular, within a whole set of measures). Thus the subsequent legal regulation of mediation was focused on formulating sectoral instructions and methodological recommendations that would explain mechanisms and ways of conducting RJ programmes in interaction with various agencies of the legal system. Various mechanisms for cooperating with bodies of justice were developed in Kiev, Odessa, Lugansk, the Crimea and they became part of agreements on cooperation in some regions and pilot studies. However, a serious step towards facilitating the process of assuming responsibility by officials „at the local level” was the Instructive Letter of the Prosecutor General of the Ukraine (оf 01.08.08) On Application of Conciliation Procedures in Criminal Prosecution and Expansion of Alternatives to Criminal Prosecution. In actual fact, the letter consolidated earlier decisions of Plenary Sessions of the Supreme Court of the Ukraine and contained analogous recommendations for prosecutors, moreover, at the same time it contained an almost revolutionary idea, if we think of the role of the prosecution in the post-soviet legal climate of the Ukraine. Namely, the letter of the Prosecutor General highlighted in bold the idea that „punishment should not be the only and compulsory aim of the activities of prosecutors in criminal proceedings <…> it is more important to compensate for the damages incurred to the victim and for the offender to change his/her attitude towards the crime to a negative attitude, i.e., the restoration of social relations disrupted by the crime».

    Already in 30 September 2009 after the letter of the Prosecutor General an instructive letter was issued by the Head of the Department of Criminal Police on cases of children about the organisation of a three-tier model for prevention of offences of children which also discussed cooperation with non-governmental organisations implementing RJ programmes. Actually, at present conditions have developed for the description of the comprehensive mechanism for the interaction of RJC in communities with the legal system of the Ukraine. It is the focus of efforts of non-governmental organisations developing restorative practices within the frame of projects, basically with financial donors from the European Community. However, it must be pointed out that representatives of local authorities have also started to notice advantages of developing RJ practice and they have started to gradually support the process. Their understanding of the role of RJ in strengthening the social life of the community and in maintaining social peace enables RJ centres to find more reliable sources of funding than the charity assistance of international foundations. In actual fact, at present this way of institutionalisation seems to be the most perspective and natural for the survival of RJ and the further development of practice. Support to the activities of RJ centres provided by communities presents new demands to ways of their functioning, the quality of provided services, professionalism in addressing not only tasks of the organisation and implementation of RJ programmes but also to the management of the personnel, finances, communication with clients, power, business, the legal system etc. At present the actual operation of RJC is directed towards the development of the potential and viability of centres not only in respect of restorative justice but also in respect of restorative practices in the communities. According to the opinion of the majority of organisations active in this area, at present centres must use the potential of the restorative approach not only in the are of criminal justice but on a wider scale – from the resolution of family and neighbours’ conflicts to facilitating processes of reaching a consensus in resolving group conflicts, in taking decisions on local policy planning or development issues. We hope that the Guidelines on the Strategy of Ensuring the Viability of RJ Centres in Communities, currently developed by a group of experts within the frame of the project of the Swiss Agency of Cooperation and Development Швейцарского агентства сотрудничества и развития will become still another effective instrument to help non-governmental organisations promoting RJ in the Ukraine.

    Educational programmes on restorative practices

    We considered the quality training of specialists – practitioners in the area of restorative justice to be one of the main tasks in ensuring the success of implementing restorative justice in the Ukraine. Mediators of the Polish Centre of Mediation – Yanina Valyuk, Andjey Bonashek, Robert Kapchishin – helped us to make the first steps in training mediators in the Ukraine. The conducted workshops helped to establish a team of specialists who led the movement for restorative justice in the Ukraine and formed the basic group of employees of the Ukrainian Centre of Concord. We developed independently our own programme for training mediators for programmes of conciliation of victims and offenders (or, in other words, moderators of meetings for eliminating the caused harm). Guidelines for training facilitators and the manual for mediators developed in 2004 still serve as the basis for conducting training for mediators. A characteristic feature of the training programme for mediators in criminal cases is the participatory training model. The theory of adult education shows that it is the only and most effective approach that allows achieving changes at the value level – the adoption of a new approach (to resolving conflict/criminal situations) and also at the level of skills. The training programme for mediators in criminal cases enables participants not only to understand the essence of restorative justice but also to acquire communicative and procedural skills necessary for a mediator who applies the restorative (non-punitive) approach in 36 hours.

    A compulsory element of training mediators for RJC is their preliminary selection according to a pre-developed questionnaire. The selection of candidates is based on the following criteria: motivation, at least superficial understanding of the essence of work, minimum communication skills, a non-judgmental approach and empathy.

    The training of trainers includes a seven-day programme which allows acquiring the model of active training, the programme for training basic skills and developing skills of conducting training in practice under the supervision of leading trainers and the feedback and individual recommendations on the last day. In time the necessity of expanding the scale of skills and practices of RJC in communities and the development of the three-tier model for preventing juvenile delinquency has led to the situation that at present the RJC conduct training for their partners in regions (and for new organisations) according to a whole set of training programmes. They include:

  • Тhe training of basic skills for mediation in criminal cases
  • Family group conferences (according to the model presented by Rob van Page to the Ukraine)
  • Conciliation circles in communities
  • Training on the management of RJC in communities
  • Аs well as various combinations of the above for various partners and target groups.
  • A separate direction of the educational activity of the UCC is the development of restorative practices at schools. Subsequently we had to develop an analogous set of training programmes (the training of basic skills, the training of trainers, the presentation training) for establishing school services of concord школьных служб согласия. The main participants of the training are future coordinators of SCC – school psychologists and social pedagogues as well as future mediators – pupils of senior forms of comprehensive school (13-15 years of age) who have passed the preliminary selection. As of 2006 workshops and summer schools have been held by trainers of the UCC and partner organisations in Zmerinka, Vinnitsa, Belaya Tserkov, Piryatina, the Crimea and other cities that have led to the establishment of about 150 SCC, the development of the professional community of peer mediators and coordinators who implement restorative practices at schools.

    Currently we work on the development of a certification programme for school psychologists and social pedagogues in cooperation with the Centre of Practical Psychology and Social Work at the Ministry of Education and Science of the Ukraine to include it in the system for the upgrading of qualifications for specialists of the educational system of the Ukraine. In our view, the main task of this programme is to retain the value basis of the restorative approach to the development of the practice of SCC. The programme sets the aim of training coordinators of SCC and enabling them to acquire skills for conducting restorative practices at schools as well as for the organisation of the work of SCC in line with quality standarts developed within the frame of the certification programme. Good support for this work has been the methodological manual developed by trainers of the UCC (in Ukrainian) School Conflict Resolution Service: Experience of Implementation, where they have described in detail restorative practices as well as steps in the establishment and development of this practice at schools. In September 2009 a textbook for the course of restorative justice at school was published, that had been formulated by specialists of the Odessa mediation group.

    Alongside with educational programmes currently developed and implemented by non-governmental organisations within the frame of projects, work continued on the development and inclusion of educational programmes in the national system of education in the Ukraine. At present courses on restorative justice have appeared in programmes of many higher educational institutions of law, among them Lvov, Zakarpatsky and Zaporojhye state universities, the Odessa Academy of Law and others. An important event was the inclusion of courses on restorative justice in the programme of the National Academy of Prosecution for students as well as for practitioners attending upgrading courses. Respective textbooks have been developed and published within the frame of the Project of the UCC in cooperation the faculty of the Academy for students and teachers of RJ courses. The Kiev State University of Interior has also come forward with the initiative of publishing together with the UCC a textbook „Contemporary Strategy for Prevention of Offences among Minors (for students and teachers) and introducing respective courses at their University and still other nine higher educational institutions of the Ministry of Interior of the Ukraine. Restorative practice has been described in textbooks and it is taught to students as an element of the interaction of the militia and the community (first and foremost, non-governmental organisations) within the frame of the three-tier model for preventing crimes of minors. Likewise also in the system of the МВС a textbook on juvenile justice was prepared by the Odessa Institute of Law of the ХНУВД together with the Odessa mediation group, dedicating a separate chapter to the restorative approach.

    We would like to mention in particular the experience of the School of Social Work named after V.I.Poltavtcev, the State University, the Kiev- Mogilyansky Academy in developing a course „Social Work and Programmes of Restorative Justice”. The task of the course is to provide an opportunity to students of the School – future social workers to acquire the profession of a mediator in criminal cases. Alongside with mediation the course programme includes getting acquainted with family conferences and circles of justice, issues of establishing and activities of RJC in communities and some legal aspects of the implementation of the practice of RJ in the Ukraine.

    Information and education

    Irrespective of the considerable success achieved, it must be recognised that there has been on focused, planned, systemic and consistent information campaign in the Ukraine. In part because neither of the groups had enough resources to organise something of the kind, in part because there was an apprehension that an extensive dissemination of information among the population might lead to a marked growth of the demand for services of these programmes that nobody would be able to meet, in view of lack of a sufficient number of qualified specialists. In view of the voluntary methods that are employed by the government in the Ukraine in addressing social problems, the threat of formalizing and losing values and principles of the given approach in the event of the success of the campaign seemed to us more threatening than the stimulation of the growth of the practice by the increase in the demand of the population. It is difficult to say how justified this apprehension was, however, examples from other areas of social life are not encouraging.

    Still tasks of informing and educating were set and addressed at the level of smaller target audiences, followed by the activities of non-governmental organisations in developing RJ in communities, in promoting restorative practices at schools, in developing and implementing educational programmes etc.

    In order to achieve success in changing the perception and attitude towards the new approach in the community we considered it necessary to have video materials that could not only illustrate but also convey the atmosphere of RJ practice, as we know that in this case the personal emotional experience of participants of the training is much more relevant than only new knowledge and dry facts. At the beginning we had the help of videos from the USA, New Zealand and Europe (Belgium) that were dubbed in Russian and in Ukrainian. Later due to the support of the European Commission we could make our own presentation film „Healing by Justice”, that was based on the Ukrainian experience in implementing RJ. Likewise another significant support material in conducting workshops and training sessions was the educational film made in 2006. Note should be made of the series of presentation videos that were made practically independently by peer mediators from Zmerinka and Ivanofrankovsk. Very soon the montage of a film about the three-tier model for preventing juvenile delinquency will be completed. There is no sense in listing in the present article the diverse videos and video reports from various events, dedicated to RJ. In each community where there are on-governmental organisations – RJC – the task of informing the community is addressed more or less successfully. As concerns events of national scale, it is necessary to mention the publication of literature (translations and methodological sources), the publication of a quarterly bulletin „Restorative Justice in the Ukraine” and specialised Internet sources.

    As concerns the latter, the following sites of non-governmental organisations implementing RJ in the Ukraine should be mentioned: (,, thematic websites: Practice of conflict resolution (, Restorative justice in the Ukraine (, Security in the communities ( and Restorative practices at schools (

    The quarterly bulletin „Restorative Justice in the Ukraine” ( addresses an extensive target readership, including practitioners, investigators, the teaching staff and officials who are involved in the implementation and promotion of RJ. Materials published in the bulletin include topical news, research results, publicistic materials, overviews on legislative and practical aspects of the implementation of RJ in the Ukraine, foreign experience as well as issues concerning the development of RJ-related areas in the Ukraine, such as probation and juvenile justice.

    There is no sense in listing sources that have been published over the last 6 years. It is possible to gain at least a partial insight into the range of publications in the above thematic websites

    ( It is necessary to note that the range of publications that have been included in the list of selected translated literature intentionally covers a more extensive spectre of practice than only programmes of restorative justice. The task was to show the scope of the application of the restorative approach in the community and the diversity of procedures and instruments that can be applied for these purposes.

    We still consider the preservation of the value basis of restorative justice, ensuring the development of practice in line with the wider understanding of principles of RJ and an attentive and careful attitude to cultural traditions and roots of cooperation and restorative approaches to the development of the community to be the main task of the further promotion and implementation of RJ in the Ukraine.


    [1] A warning; the restriction of freedom and other requirements concering behaviour; the transfer to parental supervision; the obligation to compensate for damages; the referral to a special educational institution… raksts

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