Published On: Tue, Dec 14th, 2021

SIJS & Prosecutor’s Office update Minister Richardson on restorative justice project

PHILIPSBURG – The Stichting Justitiële Inrichtingen St. Maarten (SJIS) and the St. Maarten Prosecutor’s Office (OM SXM) recently updated to Justice Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson about the ongoing Domestic Violence and Mediation Restorative Justice Project. This project is in its pilot phase and runs from July 1 to December 21, 2021.

The project team​, together with stakeholders from the Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM and Safe Haven, shared with Minister Richardson, the milestones achieved thus far​, such as mediation training for several partners working on combating domestic (​relational) violence, the Safe Home behavioral intervention training for workers directly involved with perpetrators of domestic violence, and the successful completion of mediation ​in criminal cases selected for this project.

The pilot also yielded a “What to Expect After Filing a Complaint With Police” informational leaflet for victims as well as the public. The leaflet was produced in the English language and will also be available in Spanish and Haitian Creole. Another aspect of the project is the execution of the “​Safe Homes” training​, in which perpetrators and victims or survivors ​of domestic violence can participate.

Minister Richardson stated, “Since November 2020, in my capacity as Minister of Justice, I have championed for the awareness of domestic abuse and violence in order to eradicate this practice within our community. I highly support this initiative that both the SIJS and the Prosecutor’s Office have embarked upon especially as it may be seen as the other spectrum to the Victims Support Services (VSS). One provides support for the victims and the other aids in coaching perpetrators to not create an environment that is unsafe or unhealthy for their loved ones. As such, I am honoured to be chosen as ambassador for this movement. I look forward to continuing this dialogue that we cannot end and I look forward to the fruits of this project come 2022 and beyond.”

The project team has requested additional funding from R4CR to execute expanded activities under the pilot and to fund the activities of the project for the coming year 2022. In order to raise awareness about domestic violence and restorative justice practices on Sint Maarten, Minister Richardson was asked by the project team to further support the project and to become an ambassador. This support will help boost the exposure of the project to the wider community.

The Domestic Violence and Mediation Project is financed via the Resources for Community Resilience ​(R4CR​) funding program, which was implemented by VNG International (the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG) and funded by the St. Maarten Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund to improve the capacity of St. Maarten’s civil society organizations and to support reconstruction and resilience at the community level.

PHOTO CAPTION: Justice Minister Anna Richardson (third left) with stakeholders of the restorative justice project.