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“Restorative Futures” 

In partnership with Southwark Council  & Kings College London

Project Status: Closed

Background, the local need and our theoretical model

Southwark is experiencing some of the country’s highest rates of gang activity and youth violence (MPS 2018; Gavrielides et al 2017; 2018). Existing approaches to prevent the risks associated with these phenomena are constructed within the Risk Need Responsivity (RNR) model. Developed in the 1980s by Andrews, Bonta and Hope (1990), RNR’s focus is on reducing and managing risk. Pathology-focused interventions have consequently been developed. However, according to Maruna (2006) and Gavrielides (2013; 2015), RNR is now challenged at practical, policy and financial levels. They argued that concentrating on criminogenic needs is not a sufficient condition when it comes to young people. McAdams (1994; 2006) argues that integration and relatedness for young people are crucial in encouraging desistance from violence and radicalisation. 


“My Life – My Future: Restorative Futures” aimed to turn the RNR approach on its head. Instead of “managing” young people as “risks”, it focuses on promoting their talents and strengths and through this approach helps develop positive identities. This is captured as the Good Lives Model (GLM) articulated through the values and practices of restorative justice including power sharing, dialogue, fairness, equality and autonomy. The model works towards a positive, growth-oriented change in life where a young person works on the development of the values, skills and resources towards life based on human goods (Ward, Mann and Gannon 2007: 92).


The project used Gavrielides’ restorative justice and GLM model that was piloted through this project in schools. RJ4All also used the new model to pilot interventions in the community. Some of Gavrielides’ thinking can be unpacked in this paper It is also the foundation of the book “Offenders no More”

“My Life – My Future: Restorative Futures” was developed and delivered with two strategic local partners i.e. our local Council and Kings College London. As part of the College’s Civic Challenge we worked with a group of young people ensuring that the project is developed, delivered and monitored through a bottom-up approach. King’s Civic Challenge brings together teams of students, staff and local charities to co-create solutions to some of the challenges our communities face. Therefore, this project could not be more timely for Southwark. The Council was also keen to see levels of anti-social behaviour being reduced while providing more positive opportunities for local young people. 

Project Objectives

The project objectives were drawn from:

1/ Kings Civic Challenge principles

2/ Southwark Council’s Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy

3/ The London Mayor’s “A Shared Endeavour” recommendations and strategic direction.


Our aim was to develop a sustainable project, focused on promoting social justice and community cohesion, by:

Fostering the understanding of Restorative Justice (RJ) to secondary school students in Southwark to ensure they are aware and educated of the key issues and elements related to RJ. 

Raising awareness of social challenges and providing the necessary tools for the students to contribute to their community responsibly via student activism.

Encouraging critical thinking, imagination and creativity amongst students to ensure the sustainability of student activism and social justice awareness. 

Creating spaces where all students can express their feelings and opinions regarding social issues they consider relevant is in line with RJ.

Project Results

Through a bottom-up structure and a youth-led methodology, the project:

Provided internships and high-quality volunteering opportunities to 100 children and young people and through these created social action including running, evaluating and quality controlling the project.

Delivered youth-led workshops to 100 children and young people in formal and informal education settings to become peer mediators and increase their awareness of the risks and harm involved in gangs and violent radicalised activities.

Trained 100 youth workers and professionals in formal (e.g. schools) and informal (e.g. community) educational settings through a CPD accredited (face-to-face and online) course, giving them the knowledge and skills to use restorative justice and the Good Lives Model in preventing children and young people from being groomed into gangs and/ or being radicalised.

Increased awareness among local stakeholders of restorative justice as a methodology and ethos for preventing gang and radicalised violence through a series of youth-led awareness raising actions, including a youth-led campaign, a closing local conference, website, social media, media engagement, e-newsletters and videos. 

Face-to-Face Training

As part of this project we ran one day workshops that support professionals in their work to prevent violent youth radicalisation and victimisation. The workshops cover a range of topics regarding violent radicalisation, including:

1/ Restorative justice in theory and practice

2/ Radicalisation- why and how

3/ Education and the rights of the child

4/ Positive psychology and the ‘Good Lives Model’

At the end of the workshop, participants completed a test on the material covered during the day and received a CPD accreditation diploma.


Young People Online Video Learning 

As part of the project, we created a series of videos aimed to give easier access to young people to information that would increase their knowledge, skills and awareness in dealing with the risks that lead to violence:

This first video is an introduction to the project’s e-course and includes definition of Conflict, Violence and Restorative Justice.  Additionally, the course provides contact numbers and a list of things to do to prevent violence.

This video provides an overview of what restorative justice is. We talk a bit about the definition, the history and the objectives of restorative justice and we give an overview of Restorative Justice Practices.  Further in the course, we will learn more in depth about RJ Practices, when we teach you about how to become a peer mediator

This video is an introduction to conflict.

We provide an overview of the definition of conflict and enphasize in the idea that conflict is normal.  Conflict is a part of life, and it’s important to know how to deal with conflict because if we don’t do it properly, conflict can lead to violence. In the next chapter we will teach about violence and what to do when facing it.

The fourth video introduces the concept of violence and the different types of violence a person can experience. We also provide a list of 10 things you can do to stop and/or prevent violence and at the end, we give you some contact information from organisations who work with victims so you can save them if you or a friend ever need them.

The fifth and last video of this series teaches us about Peer Mediation and its importance to restore harmed relationships but also to prevent violence and radicalisation.

At the end of the video we also take a look at the advantages of bringing Restorative Justice Practices into the school.

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