Dr. Derek Brookes started work in philosophy, teaching at several universities in Australia, including UNSW and Macquarie University.
During a research fellowship at Yale University and then at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York (CUNY), he discovered an innovative response to crime called ‘restorative justice’. So on his return to Australia, he took up work as a ‘Youth [Restorative] Justice Conference Convenor’ with the NSW Juvenile Justice Department, and shortly after moved to Washington DC to assist in the development of an international in-prison restorative justice program.
After moving to Scotland, Derek worked for 8 years as a national restorative justice trainer and consultant, with the charity Sacro (Safeguarding Communities, Reducing Offending). During this time, he developed — in collaboration with colleagues and stakeholders — national restorative justice referral protocols, best practice standards and an evaluation and monitoring system. He also trained over 800 restorative justice practitioners in the contexts of youth justice, schools, prisons, residential units, anti-social behaviour and police warnings; and delivered numerous university seminars, conference papers and workshops on restorative justice.
Upon returning to Australia, Derek initiated Relational Approaches and undertook several contracts. These included conducting research on the application of restorative justice to work-related injury and death and developing best practice standards and an accreditation scheme for restorative justice facilitators in Victoria.
Derek also worked as a Restorative Justice Program Manager with the Programs and Strategy Branch (Courts and Tribunals Unit) in the Victorian Department of Justice. During this time, he was responsible for contributing to policy development, program proposals, and ministerial briefs; providing high-level advice and guidance to a number of government departments and non-government agencies. He also facilitated workshops, training sessions, discussion groups and undertook individual case-work in restorative justice.
Derek then decided to extend his focus to other social justice issues and has since worked with several NGOs and government agencies in the areas of policy development, community consultations, and systemic advocacy. For instance, he worked with Brain Injury Australia to ensure that the new National Disability Insurance Scheme took into account the needs of people with an acquired brain injury and their families/carers. He also worked with the Domestic and Family Violence Team at the Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect Unit at the NSW Ministry of Health, and the Sydney based Child Abuse Prevention Service.
Currently, he is working on policy and program development for a post-sentence restorative justice service in NSW.
Derek received a PhD in philosophy from the Australian National University, and a M.Mus in composition (HD) from Sydney University’s Conservatorium of Music.