Aims & Objectives

Long term Objectives

  • Promoting victim’s support, especially emotional support and restoration
  • Promoting restorative justice trough victim-offender mediation inEurope
  • Contributing to socially just communities in Europe
  • Contributing to victim participation in European victim-offende programmes
  • Contributing to working on changing value systems with offenders in the aftermath of crime

Medium term Objectives

  • Transferring an effective methodology (STP: Sycamore Tree Project) and further developing it to Building Bridges for victim’s support into different European countries and settings
  • Enabling victim-offender mediators, counsellors, prison psychologists, social workers, and others to support victims in the restoration process
  • Training victim-offender mediators, counsellors, prison psychologists, social workers and others in the Building Bridges methodology

Short term Objectives

  • Implementing Building Bridges in European prisons and testing it in 14 programmes
  • Profound scientific evaluation of Building Bridges as to show its effectiveness and feasibility in different settings inside and outside of prisons in Europe
  • Sharing and spreading knowlegde about the Building Bridges methodology in a guidebook for facilitators in 8 languages and in a European Conference
  • Writing a book about victim-offender mediation with Building Bridges

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Building Bridges promotes healing and transformation of the participants, a greater understanding and recognition of the influence of the crimes, reconciliation and reparation as integral part of justice.

The purpose is to heal the wounds and break the chains that bind the prisoners and the victims, so that each will return to nourish the hope of being rescued and the others to open their hearts to forgive.

As for the victims, the objectives are: to lead them to solve the consequences of the crime committed against them; to be better informed about the crime, and restorative justice; allowing them to see the offenders to take the responsibility for the crime committed; and leading them towards a sense of forgiveness and peace.

The victims have a crucial role in the field of Restorative Justice, and they are carefully selected and prepared for the role. The victims can help offenders understand how their offensive behavior actually affects them; as the criminal behavior has an impact on daily life, work, health, sleep of the victim, and so on, and as also affects other members of the family of the victim.

Building Bridges leads to a significant change in the way we manage crime and justice and have the aims and objective of allowing inmates to:

– Understand the impact of their crime;
– Take responsibility for their actions;
– Understand the difference between retributive and restorative justice;

– Be aware of the needs of victims;
– Understand the value of forgiveness and reconciliation;
– Recognize opportunities for personal change;
– Participate in an act of symbolic restitution to victims;
– Repair and build personal relationships.

Inmates have the opportunity to perform symbolic acts of restitution often in the form of poems, gifts made by themselves and, sometimes, a song written for the occasion.