Relational Approaches is provided by Dr. Derek Brookes, who has worked in this field for over 20 years in Australia, America and the UK.
History of work
Derek started his involvement in restorative justice as a research fellow at Yale University and then at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York (CUNY). 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 in the areas of policy analysis and development, community consultations, and systemic advocacy. For instance, he was employed as a policy officer with Brain Injury Australia, a role which focused on ensuring that the new National Disability Insurance Scheme took into account the needs of people with an acquired brain injury and their families/carers.
Restorative Justice Practice
Derek has been actively involved as a restorative justice facilitator for almost 20 years, focusing on the contexts of youth justice, workplaces, schools and severe violent crime. He has received the following training:
“Victim-Offender Mediated Dialogue for Crimes of Severe Violence” – Trainers: David Doerfler and Jon Wilson of Concentric Journeys. Edinburgh, Scotland 2003
“Advanced Victim-Offender Mediation Training” – Trainer: Dr. Mark Umbreit of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking – University of Minnesota, July 1998
“Youth Justice Conference Convenors’ Training” – Trainer: NSW Department of Juvenile Justice – NSW April-May, 1999
Derek has a PhD in philosophy from the Australian National University. He has taught philosophy at several universities in Australia, including UNSW and Macquarie University. Derek has held research fellowships at the University of Aberdeen, Yale University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York), St Andrews University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Melbourne and, most recently, the University of London.