Towards Pre-Trial Detention as UltimaRatio

This EU funded projects aims at exploring and analyzing pre-trial detention practice, especially different ways of reducing the use of pre-trial detention, in seven European jurisdictions. It is, on the one hand, focused on the human rights situation of the suspects who in principle should benefit from the presumption of innocence. On the other hand it addresses the views and needs of the judiciary which also depends on available alternatives as well as on other obstacles they experience with respect to the avoidance of pre trail detention. Increasingly, and this will be another focus, cross-border cases need to be solved within the EU, like for instance with the European Supervision order. The project aims at increasing mutual knowledge about other jurisdictions within the EU. Central to all project activities, although not restricted to them, are judges and prosecutors, because they are the ones who decide also dependent on and influenced by given conditions. The project is about learning from and with each other and to contribute to developments fostering the avoidance of pre-trial detention.

For more information on the project, please visit the website.


Desistance and Restorative Justice

Although many studies have shown that participation in restorative justice programs often reduces the likelihood of reoffending, it remains unclear why this is the case, for which groups and under which conditions. The general aim of this study was thus to gain insight in the mechanisms within restorative justice practices that can contribute to desistance from crime and thus reduce victimisation. The final report is now available. 



Participatory film-making was a central tool for data collection and dissemination within the ALTERNATIVE project. The films produced over the course of four years at project sites in five different countries are now available via this link. Researchers and practitioners report on their daily experiences and explain the overall aims and methodological approaches of the project.


Restorative Justice in Cases of Domestic Violence

The IRKS together with the Institute for Conflict Research is involved in the European project "Restorative Justice in Cases of Domestic Violence, Best practice examples between increasing mutual understanding and awareness of specific protection needs (JUST/2013/JPEN/AG/5487)", that is coordinated by the Verwey-Jonker Institute in the Netherlands. Partners from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece and the UK are contributing to the project. The main idea is to come up with guidance under what conditions RJ can be offered to victims and offenders.

The first results, as presented in this comparative report, show that the use of RJ in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) cases is happening in Europe and in the countries involved in this study. At the same time there is a large variety in the way they work at the local level. There are some common problems and fears as mentioned in the comparative report dealing with issues like the importance of a good preparation phase, safety as an overall point of concern and the importance to work around after care.

As a second phase of the European project "Restorative Justice in Cases of Domestic Violence (JUST/2013/JPEN/AG/4587)", interviews were undertaken with victims and offenders who took part in mediation in the partner countries. For the results, see Comparative Report II.

More on the project >


ALTERNATIVE: Regional Workshop in Budapest

It had been organised by the Hungarian team of Foresee together with the IRKS (Katrin Kremmel and Christa Pelikan) who both contributed also to the programme in terms of content. Apart from Austria and Hungary practitioners and researchers from Bulgaria, Romania , Albania, from Slovakia,  Serbia, Germany, Norway and Sweden took part.

There were presentations of the research sites, the Viennese ‘Gemeindebau’ and the village K. close to Budapest where the action research of ALTERNATIVE is taking place. Films, as a result of participatory film-making were shown and met with great interest.

Illustrating the approach of action research chosen for ALTERNATIVE and discussing it with the participants was a main goal of the Workshop. It became also clear that it is not easy to fully understand the implications of such an effort. Especially that at this stage it is still processes and we are talking about – and not ‘fixed’ results. The WS is to be understood as part of this process and the great interest shown by the participants gives hope toward arriving at a fruitful outcome of ALTERNATIVE.

More on the project >
Project website >