What we do
Northern Ireland Alternatives is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status that was formally established during 2000 and emerged out of the Greater Shankill Alternatives Restorative Justice Programme.
Greater Shankill Alternatives was established as a community based restorative justice programme in September 1998 and was initially intended to act as a pilot project for three years to evaluate it’s effectiveness before beginning the process of expansion. However, due to the success of Greater Shankill Alternatives and the requests from other communities for similar initiatives, Northern Ireland Alternatives evolved naturally and organically as a means to help develop and support new strategic restorative justice initiatives. North Down Alternatives started in March 2003; NorthBelfastAlternatives in October 2003, East Belfast Alternatives in November 2003 and South Belfast Alternatives in April 2010. Each site is registered as a company limited by guarantee and has charitable status.
1996 Research carried out byTom Winstone(EPIC) to explore issues around paramilitary punishment
1997 Multi-agency Steering group established to develop and take forward ideas
1998 Shankill Alternatives project and management Committee set up
2000 Northern Ireland Alternatives formed to oversee development of local sites
2003 Sites established in North & East Belfast and Bangor
2007 Independent evaluation of Alternatives sites proved the positive impact of RJ projects
2005 NIO protocol on CBRJ projects
2007 NIA receive NIO accreditation
2010 Development of South BelfastAlternatives
Northern Ireland Alternatives is therefore a central co-ordinating initiative aimed at embedding the philosophy and practice of restorative justice as a means of peacefully addressing socially harmful activities and developing non-violent, innovative approaches to doing justice within local communities.
Northern Ireland Alternatives has an overarching Board consisting of a diverse range of people who oversee the work of Northern Ireland Alternatives. The role of this Board is concerned with overall strategic development of NIA; policy development and responses to government policies; Public Relations; advice and support.