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Restorative Justice and Practice

Restorative Justice is about putting relationships at the heart of all we do. Justice, Schools, Community, Leadership, Workplace, Family

Marcus Czarnecki is the North East Lincolnshire Restorative Justice Champion.

VANEL and Safer and Stronger Communities are working in Partnership in order to make North East Lincolnshire a restorative borough.The vision for this arose from asking the question what will happen if we do nothing? The question came about as we considered the lives of the children and young people in 15 years time. Doing what we have always done will give us what we have always got, so rather than changing what we do we thought about changing the philosophy that underpins our professional, corporate, statutory and community points of view.

The Restorative ethos humanises the foundations of justice, discipline, behaviour, approaches to conflict and most important of all, human relationships. Doing things to people or at people with high degrees of control and authority is no longer valid or accepted. Doing things with people as equals is the way forward. When children learn this approach they feel included and respected. These two simple words, inclusion and respect, are the foundation of the future. Restorative practices is a vehicle for enabling this change of heart to take place so that in the future the young people now will have a different grasp of reality and a different way of doing things.

Restorative Justice is a fully transferable philospohy that can inform the skill set and needs of any professional in any field. This is the challenge that VANEL and Safer and Stronger have set out to accomplish. Its victory rests on all our shoulders.

What is Restorative Justice?

Principles of Restorative Justice

The fundamental unifying hypothesis of restorative practices is disarmingly simple: that human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behaviour when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them. This hypothesis maintains that the punitive and authoritarian to mode and the permissive and paternalistic for mode are not as effective as the restorative, participatory, engaging with mode. If this restorative hypothesis is valid, then it has significant implications for many disciplines

RJ is not any particular practice, but a set of principles which may orientate the general practice of any agency or group in relation to discipline, behaviour, wrongdoing, conflict, relationships and harm.

‘These principles are:

1/ making room for the personal story and journey of those directly involved in the harm (particularly those that cause and receive the harm and their families and communities)

2/ seeing wrongdoing in a social context

3/ a forward-looking (or preventative) problem-solving orientation

4/ flexibility of practice (creativity).

The aim of restorative practices is to develop community and to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships. Restorative Practices are a philosophy and ought to guide the way we act in all our dealings.

For a brief introduction to Restorative Practices can be found here


Organised Dialogue

Marcus also leads on Organised Dialogue sessions.

Hosted by the Grimsby institute, the organised dialogues are unique in the UK and attended by a wide variety of people from the full spectrum of the community.

Founded through VANEL’s Working Group that reported into the Safer Stronger partnership in 2009, the dialogues have given rise to the deeper transformations in the way groups and communities work, and work together.

The word Dialogue, from the Greek – Dia Logos – literally means ‘Through the meaning of words’.

In true dialogue the group explores a paradox and learns to think from its centre – rather than trying to solve a problem from opposite or various sides.

52 dialogues have been conducted on the themes of Justice and Identity.
Chatham house rules are observed.

An RSVP is essential.


Neighbourhood Watch

Marcus is responsible for supporting the NEL Neighbourhood Watch Area Network.


An area is only as safe as the degree of responsibility taken by those who live in it.  Personal safety we know about – but we often assume that community safety is someone else’s responsibility. In fact the ownership belongs to a partnership between people and Police. That means all of us.

Neighbourhood Watch is one of the most successful crime prevention initiatives ever.

Behind the name lies a simple idea, and a central value shared by millions of people around the country, that getting together with their neighbours to take action will reduce crime and disorder where they live.  Neighbourhood Watch is a popular way for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in making their area a better and safer place to live and work.

We all know that the police are there to fight crime, but they need our help to do an effective job. Indeed, some problems just can’t be solved by the police alone. We need a joint approach…because to use a phrase, we really are all in it together – wherever we live….town or country.

Neighbourhood Watch Groups don’t just tackle crime issues. Many get involved many community and  environmental projects to improve the area where they live and the quality of life for their families and neighbours.

Benefits of starting a group

?             Designated Police Support

?             Routes for setting monthly priorities for dealing with parking, street lighting, fly tipping, health issues, dog fouling etc

?             Lower premiums for house and contents insurance.

?             Means of working together to prevent crime

?             Building a stronger sense of community

?             Closer working links with agencies and partners

?             Obtaining funding for working together on street parties, sports or play areas, becoming an In-Bloom area

?             Being a registered No Cold Calling area and the protection this affords.

For more information on Neighbourhood Watch Groups, please visit their website –


In the meantime, read our recent case studies about the work of Restorative Justice and Organised Dialogue here.

Marcus can be contacted at VANEL on 01472 324976