Since its establishment in 2012, the Criminal Justice Platform Europe (EuroPris, CEP and EFRJ) organized thematic seminars and summer courses bringing together professionals from these different fields, i.e. prison, probation and restorative justice.
Because of the current Covid-19 outbreak in Europe, the CJPE postponed its 4th international Criminal Justice Summer Course in Barcelona to July 2021. The focus was on responses to sexual violence. Instead of holding the Summer Course this year, the CJPE organized a series of free webinars with key-experts on this topic. The webinars have been recorded and they are available for public viewing. Watch the webinars on clicking on the videos below.
Organized by EuroPris (7 July 2020)
Click on the video below to view the webinar:
Part 1 – A rehabilitative environment (Nicholas Blagden)
There is an established evidence-base of the static and dynamic risk factors of individuals with sexual convictions and the specific treatment targets offenders need to address to reduce recidivism (e.g., Mann, Hanson & Thornton, 2010; Hanson et al, 2009). However, there is much less examining the context or environment within which treatment takes place (Ware et al, 2011). Research has found that treatment for individuals with sexual convictions in prison is not effective (e.g., Schmucker & Losel, 2015), or at least contested, and it is important that we understand the environment where treatment takes place. This talk will begin with a focus on the impact of rehabilitative climate on the rehabilitation of men with sexual convictions. It will emphasize the importance of taking the environment in which treatment is done more seriously and highlighting the types of environment that are most conductive to the rehabilitation of men with sexual convictions. It will make links to the importance of promoting desistance factors in prison, such as providing opportunities to change.
Part 2 – Staff-qualifications and support (Marianne Fuglestved)
The quality of the staff is considered the most important variable for successful reintegration and rehabilitation for individuals convicted of sexual convictions (e.g., Marshall, 2005; Fernandez & Mann, 2009). Training and supporting staff is important for developing competency in the rehabilitative work but are important self-care factors as well, that influence the wellbeing of professionals – to keep staff safe, resistant and satisfied in the important work they do. A number of research studies (Paton & Violanti, 1996; Leicht, 2008) have identified that staff who work with individuals with sexual convictions are affected by their work in ways that are specific to the nature of the job; it can thus be considered a “critical occupation”. Prison management has a responsibility to address the potential for staff to be affected by the perceptions, attitudes, and experiences of the individuals with whom they are engaged in motivational and treatment work.
Organized by CEP (8 July 2020)
Part 1 – Understanding and defining the challenge of sexual abuse (Kieran McCartan)
The reasons why people commit sexual offences are wide and varied, which is problematic for policy and practice as it means that there is not a straightforward, simple solution. This talk will focus on research and practice into the etiology of sexual offending, the motivations, and what this means for prevention and rehabilitation.
Part 2 – Online Child Sexual Exploitation (Hannah Merdian)
Significant increases in the number of arrests of individuals who engage in Child Sexual Exploitation highlighted a need to further understand this offending behaviour. I will provide an overview of the current research context and the key questions posed when working with a person who has engaged in this type of offending, especially considering current risk assessment and complex case formulation.
Organized by EFRJ (9 July 2020)
Part 1 – Victim offender mediation in sexual violence, does it work? (Kristel Buntinx)
The possibility to offer restorative justice in cases of sexual violence provokes a lot of resistance. This is understandable, as we wish to protect victims, especially children, by keeping them as far away as possible from the person responsible for the harm. In this webinar, a Flemish senior mediator will share her practice experience in victim-offender mediation and sexual violence, focusing on the reasons why it is important for victims and offenders to know about the possibility of restorative justice. The Belgian law does not exclude any type of crime from victim-offender mediation: this can be offered to all types of crimes and at any time during the criminal procedure and the judicial authorities are obliged to inform parties about this service. In that way, victims and offenders of sexual violence are at least informed about this opportunity and they can choose whether or not they want to participate. In the Flemish part of Belgium, Moderator is the umbrella organization for victim-offender mediation in serious crimes for adults, receiving structural funding by the government to work. In 2019, Moderator facilitated 128 mediations in cases of sexual violence.
Part 2 – Restorative practice issues in working with harmful sexual behaviour cases (Vincent Mercer)
After many reflective years of practice in this field the question to be addressed now is not “should we as restorative workers take on harmful sexual behaviour cases?”, but rather “what do we need to do to ensure safe and sensitive restorative practice in this challenging field?” Two major factors have driven this change in emphasis: the continued failure of the conventional criminal justice system to meet the justice needs of victims who have been sexually harmed, and the potential that restorative practices offer to address the traumatic impact of sexual harm and to engage with the relational context in which this harm is placed. This webinar will move beyond the reasons justifying the use of restorative justice in sexual violence and it will mostly focus on how to deliver safe and good quality restorative practices, following the experience of the AIM Project model to use restorative practices in cases of child and adolescent harmful sexual behaviors. The presentation will highlight 8 key elements, including the case/ parties assessment, cooperation with other services, actual RJ practices in place, the importance of research in the field, and the links with trauma and therapy.