Unveiling the Unseen: Restorative Justice for Children Affected by Harm

In a captivating presentation at the recent conference on restorative justice, Christine and Mark Rutledge from New Zealand shared their profound insights into working with children who have been impacted by harmful situations. With over 25 years of experience as a self-employed counselor, Christine has dedicated her career to supporting children, young people, and adults in navigating through challenging circumstances. Meanwhile, Mark has been facilitating restorative justice conferences for an impressive 16 years.

The duo’s mission was clear – to shed light on the often overlooked needs of children who become victims of harm. In their powerful talk, they emphasized that these young individuals are frequently unseen and unheard within the context of restorative justice processes. While discussions about harm tend to focus on generic terms or omit any mention of child involvement altogether, it is crucial to acknowledge that they were present during these traumatic events and have experienced them firsthand.

Christine and Mark passionately conveyed their desire to help facilitators understand how vital it is for the voices of children to be heard throughout the conference process. They firmly believe that all children affected by harmful situations can greatly benefit from being actively involved in restorative justice conferencing.

Restorative justice is not just limited to criminal cases; it extends its reach even further into various aspects of society including schools. By implementing this approach within educational institutions, educators can create safe spaces where conflicts are resolved through dialogue rather than punishment alone. This fosters an environment conducive to learning while also equipping students with valuable conflict-resolution skills that they can carry forward into adulthood.

One key takeaway from Christine and Mark’s presentation was the need for empathy when dealing with children affected by harm. It is essential for facilitators and professionals alike to recognize that every child responds differently based on their unique experiences and backgrounds.

By providing a teaser glimpse into their work during this enlightening session, Christine and Mark successfully captured the attention and passion of their audience. Their expertise in understanding and advocating for the needs of children affected by harm is truly commendable.

In conclusion, Christine and Mark Rutledge’s presentation served as a wake-up call to the restorative justice community. They reminded us all that children are not invisible victims; they deserve to have their voices heard and validated through the conference process. By acknowledging their experiences and involving them actively in restorative justice, we can help these young individuals heal, grow, and find solace amidst adversity.