On October 28-31, 2010, Civil Services LLC will host two workshops – a one day overview of restorative systems, and a three-day restorative circle facilitator practice – in Decatur, GA. Dominic Barter, considered by many to be the grandfather of the restorative circle process, will lead these workshops.
In today’s blog, we thought we’d provide you with some background and information on Mr. Barter. We hope you will find it interesting and useful.
Dominic Barter is considered by many the grandfather of circle processes. Inspired by the social complexity of Rio de Janiero and his study of Nonviolent Communication, he began in the 1990s to develop a restorative justice model that would encourage each person to take responsibility for their part in what happened and to co-create what will happen next. Breaking fully from the retributive model, restorative circles seek to empower their participants by putting the emphasis on the participants as human beings rather than using labels such as “offender” or “victim.” Instead, they focus on the individuals’ choices and the human needs that motivated those choices.
Dominic encourages a minimalist approach and has stripped restorative circle facilitation down to its core. In interacting minimally with participants and implementing the process in this way, he reinforces the important principle that it is the process itself—and not the facilitator—that holds the power. In response to a crime, violent act, or broken agreement, Dominic’s restorative circles ask the question: what can be learned here, both in terms of understanding what happened and its context, and in terms of new, life-serving behavior? Each person then works together to co-create what will happen next.
Residing in Rio de Janiero, his adopted home, Dominic’s work focuses mainly on developing training programs for practitioners to address youth crime and its consequences. He also works with youth and community leaders in supervising implementation of these models. Since 2004, Dominic has been the training program director and consultant for the Brazilian Restorative Justice pilot projects, in collaboration with the UN Development Program, UNESCO, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education and Special Secretariat for Human Rights. In 2008, he was the keynote speaker at the International Conference on Restorative Practices.
“Dominic’s NVC based RJ Circle work inspires peoples natural inclination towards compassionate giving to meet needs when brought together in a community where power is shared equally amongst all participants. When participants discovered both what needs of theirs were not met in the action taken and what needs of theirs they were attempting to meet in the action, they can then find new ways to try and meet needs based on what has been revealed in the circle. I am so inspired by the connections that are restored in people and that the vision of the world I want to play in is brought closer to reality. ”
- Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., Founder of The Center of Nonviolent Communication
Written by Nicole Motter, GRA, Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution