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Eigen-Kracht centre in Amsterdam

30 March 2008 – The Eigen-Kracht [under own's own power] centre will open an office in Amsterdam in April. The organisation is active on the terrain of restorative justice, involving conferences with perpetrators and victims who negociate a solution. In Amsterdam, the organisation is mainly active on the terrain of youth assistance.

Restorative justice involves conferences in which the perpetrator and the victim participate, as well as family members and acquaintances. The outcome may be that the perpetrator makes an apology and pays for damages.

Foreign studies found that this approach often has more a more positive impact on victims than the criminal justice system, which assigns them a passive role. After a conference, victims are less afraid that they will again be victim of a crime and they are less vengeful. In the Netherlands, restorative justice does not take the place of criminal justice proceedings but is an addition.

In Amsterdam, the Eigen Kracht centre will mainly be involved with youth assistance, domestice violence, prevention of house evictions and care for the elderly. Conferences will be organised at which those seeking help draw up a plan in collaboration with family members and professionals.

The plans that people make themselves are often more practical and more comprehensive than the plans made by professionals, says Lineke Joanknecht of the Eigen Kracht centre. Twenty percent of the intentions they formulate involve help from professionals; the rest are things they want to take care of among themselves.

In Amsterdam, the Eigen Kracht centre is mainly funded by the municipality. Districts have shown interest as well.

Eigen Kracht, restorative justice (both in Dutch). Photo: Wikipedia / Bureau Monumenten en Archeologie


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