Following the research conducted by Representatives of the Malta Foundation for the Well-being of Society (MFWS), the Ministry for Justice, Equality and Governance, and the Ministry for Education and Sport, it has resulted that there is an inherent need to change the system in respect of restorative justice. Restorative Justice seeks reconciliation by encouraging the use of basic skills such as listening, understanding and talking to truly understand how the problem can be amended.

The Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society strongly believes primarily in investing in children and young people, to ensure a sustainable and long-term mentality shift for the whole of our society.    

That is why the aim of this initiative is to ensure that children, from their early years, are empowered with the values of respect, empathy and understanding.  

The initiative will therefore create opportunities for raising awareness of the concept of Restorative Justice, as well as opportunities for the development of social, personal and communication skills and promote dialogue and reconciliation, to ensure holistic wellbeing of all. 

The Process

Dr. Stephanie Dalli, Dr. Fleur Abela and Ms Katia Caruana attended and participated in a workshop which was conducted by Prof Susan Hirsch and her colleague. By means of this workshop we could see through first hand experience how the restorative practices work.

The Launch

On the 7th of December 2021 we had the official launch of Restorative Justice. Were Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Minister Zammit Lewis, and Minister Justyne Caruana gave their speeches about what the idea of the process entails. 

Workshops with children

Four workshops were conducted with 2 groups of children coming from different backgrounds which were further divided into another 2 groups according to their age ranges. These groups were made up of the group of children, a group leader, a note taker and an observer. The content of these workshops was built on Restorative Justice Models already in use and apart from that adapted according to our scenarios in Maltese schools and discussed thoroughly with individuals who work constantly with children. From these workshops important findings emerged and these provided as the basis on which the conference was based as a standing point as to how things are at the moment in Malta. 

Conference

The Restorative Justice Conference was held on the 2nd of February 2022 at Fort St. Elmo and also took a hybrid format allowing over a hundred people to participate in this conference online. The conference was composed of a number of introductory speeches by Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Honourable Minister Dr Edward Zammit Lewis and Honourable Minister Dr Clifton Grima. Interventions by Prof Susan Hirsch all the way from George Mason University in the USA and Prof Kenneth Wain. A presentation of all the current situation from a child’s perspective, findings of the present situation and what is envisaged for the future was presented by Dr Stephanie Dalli, Katia Caruana, Antonella Gatt, and Dr Fleur Abela. Finally all the audience of the conference were encouraged to participate in a discussion and give us their feedback and let us know what they think of the current situation and if they would like to be part of this mentality shift going forward.