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Wednesday, 19 September 2018 09:16 am

Global interest in restorative justice course offered online by Victoria

Apr 5th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Professor Chris Marshall, Victoria University’s Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice and a key deliverer of the course. (PHOTO: Supplied).

A new free online restorative justice course already has hundreds of enrollments from around the world, and numbers are expected to reach the thousands.

So far 600 have enrolled at the Victoria University course, 70% from overseas spread across 57 countries.

Titled: Restorative Justice and Practice: Emergence of a Social Movement, the continuing education course charts the growth of restorative justice and examines its role in the justice, welfare and education systems.

Students learn what restorative justice is, about its significance in recent criminal justice practice, its emergence and spread worldwide, and the evidence backing it up.

Its application in schools is a key focus, as a method to deal with student disciplinary matters, and student/staff relations and wellbeing.

Professor Chris Marshall, the university’s Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, restorative justice lecturer Dr Tom Noakes-Duncan, and programme development advisor Haley Farrar present the course.

It will bring in guest speakers such as Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft and New Zealand Police deputy chief executive Māori Wallace Haumaha.

Farrar says the online delivery is a great way to deliver the course.

“People from all over the world can participate and learn together, and can access this.

“Being able to offer it internationally and on a larger scale for people that aren’t in Wellington or people that are busy with their day-to-day jobs, to be able to get this information out there I think is a great offering.”

Restorative justice is a different way of thinking about justice, Farrar says.

“I definitely think that people are waking up to the idea that traditional, retributive and authoritarian systems aren’t working for us.

“From schools to universities to the criminal justice system to workplaces, people are starting to experiment with different systems, and I think that restorative is a really wonderful way to go.

Mike Hinton, general manager of Restorative Practices Aotearoa, the body representing restorative justice providers, says having more people educated in this area will benefit society, as restorative justice works to address hurt or harm.

“It puts people at the centre of the process and doesn’t put the process in front of people.

“It gives people an opportunity to be valued, to be heard, to be listened to, and their voices are important.

“Currently under the current system, we don’t have a justice system we have a broken legal system.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

Classes start on May 1.

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