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Our History

Initially established as the Australasian Restorative Justice Association (ARJA) in 1997, RPI was the fruition of a long-held dream of Peta Blood, a past director and founding member, to establish support mechanisms for practitioners working in the then relatively isolated fields of the Restorative Justice.

These ideas continued to simmer as Peta started raising the idea of such support at international conferences with groups of interested practitioners. After speaking to many hundreds of people, it soon became apparent that there was a need at an international level to support practitioners from diverse areas of practice.

In March 2007, Peta and colleague Margaret Thorsborne brought together 20 practitioners from around Australia in Sydney to propose the development of an international organisation. From this group, a steering committee was formed to move the organisation forward.

This steering committee and a hard working conference committee (including Angie Parker, Carolyn Waters, Robyn Hutchinson and Debbie Laycock), pulled out all stops to organise the inaugural RPI conference in Queensland, Australia, 7 months later, in October 2007. It was a huge success and something of a landmark for the organisation. Our next effort, an international conference in Vancouver in June, 2009, co-partnered with Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Restorative Justice, cemented this new tradition of excellence! In November 2011, a successful partnership with Restorative Justice Aotearoa (RJA) saw the third international conference conducted in Wellington, New Zealand.

Our most recent international conference was in Melbourne in June, 2013, in partnerships with the Victorian Association for Restorative Justice (VARJ) and the Neighbourhood Justice Center (NJC).

We now have a quarterly newsletter to keep our membership and interested others up to date with a range of articles and news of events.

Our longer terms plans include:

  • a continuation of our biennial international conference hosted alternatively in the northern and southern hemispheres
  • Support for local associations and organisations in order to enhance their support for local practitioners
  • Blogs for robust, respectful dialogue about current practice issues
  • A professionally edited journal
  • An advocacy and lobbying role in state and national policy development

To do this, we need your support, both financially in the form of membership fees and your willingness to involve yourself in the activities and development of RPI.

We would love to hear from you, wherever you are, if you are willing to do this, and the particular interest or contribution you may have that can assist us grow RPI into a significant organisation.

Check out about becoming a member!

Acknowledgements

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the following colleagues whose generosity allowed us to make a head start with our early developmental work:

Carol Guthrie, Robyn Hutchinson, Debbie Laycock, David Moore, Katherine Johnson, Graeme George, Bill Hansberry, Tom Stodulka, John Lennox and Les Drelich (Australia); Vick Kelly (USA); Maurie Abraham (NZ); Joan Stead, Gillean McCluskey and Gywnedd Lloyd (Scotland).

Special acknowledgment is also due to the following members who took up the Founding Member option: Graeme George, Adam Broomfield, Lea Garrett, Leigh Garrett, Margaret Armstrong, Margaret Thorsborne and Peta Blood; and to Vick Kelly for his generous donation to support the ongoing work of RPI.