Trauma awareness: 3 speakers showing the way in restorative practice

Restorative Values and Standards Working Group. Picture taken from the Website of EFRJ.

Claudia Christen-Schneider, from Switzerland, is the founder and president of the Swiss RJ Forum, and she is also involved in EFRJ (European Forum For Restrorative Justice) values and standards committee. In her presentation, she will tackle the question, “if Restorative Justice currently fails to live up to its own goals of providing a needs-based and healing form of justice.”

If we practice according to Zehr’s (2002) understanding of Restorative Justice, which is “healing of harms caused by crime”, we might conclude that trauma must form part of it. However, this may not always be the case in reality. Investigating the disconnect between theory and practice, Claudia aims to explore “what it means to work trauma-informed with all stakeholders in a restorative process.

Dr Colleen Pawlychka is our Canadian advocate of “trauma-informed correctional care”. Her teaching aims to bridge the gap between community and prisoners. In her talk, Colleen will pay special attention to Childhood psychological trauma (CPT) as a main generator of criminal behaviour.

She will share the perspectives of Canadian federal, male prisoners, that she gathered in a series of in-depth interviews with former prisoners who self-identified as having experienced CPT. If you decide to attend her talk, you’ll also get to hear her recommendations for correctional practice, includeing increased community-prisoner connection and implementation of trauma-informed correctional care.

Anna de Paula is also strongly engaging with the topic of trauma. She currently works as a public prosecutor in Brazil. If you’re part of her talk, you’ll be shown how we can help and support victims of crime with minimal financial or personal resources. Yes, that’s right: Support does not equate to money. How? Well… Anna will explain this part! To understand the imporatance of trauma awareness in that equation, don’t miss her talk!

Unhealthy Victim-offender connections: Responding to trauma

A great number of our speakers will touch on the topic of trauma and its role in restorative approaches. Let me introduce six of the presenters from four different countries, who promise to explicitly and extensively discuss this matter.

Kerri Quinn (with two different presentations in her backpockets) , Lamika Wilson and Leaf Seligman are our pioneers from the US – But learn more about their work here:

Kerri Quinn, from the US, studied extensively the dynamics of interpersonal conflict and the impact of language and trauma in restorative practices. Furthermore, she is an extraordinarily experienced practitioner with over 1000 cases!

Kerri Quinn (picture taken from her website “Restorative Way

And now listen up… Kerri prepared TWO different WORKSHOPS for us!

If you tune into her first workshop, you will leave the conference equipped with trauma-responsive skills, a sharpened understanding of the dynamics of conflict, and specific language tools facilitators can use to de-escalate tension, encourage accountability and enhance listening.

If you come to her second workshop, you will be part of an in-depth exploration of the different stages of trauma experienced by both victims and offenders. Little disclaimer: In this presentation, she will share stories from high risk victim offender dialogues, like murder and vehicular homicide cases, that successfully broke this bond and allowed for restoration and healing.

Kerri is particularly interested in applying the lens of trauma to the undwanted bond created between victim and offender. This bond contributes to anxiety, trauma and impacts other relationships and possibilities for healing… If left unaddressed… On the other hand, this relationship holds great potency. Namely, the possibility for healing and growth – for both parties: VICTIM AND OFFENDER. Althought, achieving this end requires best practice. The kind of practice that leads to SUCCESSFUL cases, and how convenient that Kerri comes with many, many success stories!

And that’s not all: She also brings lots of valuable experience to this conference that lays the grounds for here talks. She is not only the co-creator of the Victim Offender Dialogue Program in Colorado, but she is also currently lecturing at the University of Colorado and the Creighton University Law School. But learn more about Kerri on here: “Restorative Way”!

Two other popular speakers from the US are Leaf Seligman and Lamika Wilson. (You might know Lamika already from our blog post on Restorative Cities “From Restorative Communities … to Restorative Cities … to Restorative States? “) Lamika describes herself as an “advocate for our most vulnerable population and high priority citizens.” Driven by her own experience as someone who has been victimized, her vision is to localize an “office that is accessible for the community”. This office should provide “direct services such as counselling, financial assistance timely and other supplemental resources needed to overcome trauma.” More about Leaf and her work, you can read in our other blog post, here: “Trauma and Restorative Justice: 8 specialists to learn from”

Laura Mooiman: Integrating Restorative Practices and PBIS

Country: Netherlands / Focus: Schools

An American based in The Netherlands, Laura is an international educational consultant specializing in school culture, safety, and student behavior. Most recently she was the Project Director for the Wellness Program and PBIS at Napa Valley Unified School District for 10 years where all 30 schools in the district achieved the highest school climate scores in the state after implementing Restorative Practices and PBIS.

Laura Mooiman, Netherlands. Topic: Schools

Topic: Integrating Restorative Practices and Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS): How to Create Safe, Positive, and Restorative School Culture That Sustains
Laura will share lessons learned in her 10 years implementing PBIS and Restorative Practices in all 30 Napa Valley schools which required all schools to build restorative systems to build community, address student behavior and to respond to school and community crises including earthquake, multiple student suicides, Napa wildfires, and student protests. PBIS is foundational to creating systems and structures to prevent problem behavior, make students and staff feel safe, and shift staff mindset toward positive approaches to managing student behavior. Without PBIS schools often do not have the capacity to manage all the restoration that would be required in a reactive mode. Restorative Practices provides tools for staff to create community and work meaningfully with students to repair harm.