June 29, 2022

‘Domestic Violence and Mediation’ project presented to Trust Fund Committee

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten  – The “Domestic Violence and Mediation” project, a restorative justice initiative, launched by Stichting Justitiële Inrichtingen St. Maarten (SJIS) and the Prosecutor’s Office OM Sint Maarten, was one of the initiatives recently presented to the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience Trust Fund steering committee.


Project funder, Resources for Community Resilience R4CR funding program, selected the restorative justice initiative for presentation to showcase the social impact it has on the community. The project is a collaboration of partners in the justice and social field with the goal of introducing restorative justice on St. Maarten. Restorative justice is an approach to conflicts and criminal offenses which focuses on repairing harm.


At the presentation were a delegation of 13 people, including R4CR representatives Jose Sommers, Steven Duzanson and Rolf Hunink, and the Trust Fund Steering Committee members: Marcel Gumbs (St. Maarten), Frans Weekers (Netherlands), and Lilia Burunciuc (Director Caribbean World Bank); Michelle Keane (World Bank Program Manager SXM Trust Fund), Claret Connor (NRPB Director), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands.


The project team was represented by Cynthia Filemon SJIS Probation & Family Guardianship, Sandra Withfield (Prosecutor's Office), Sanne Bartels (mediator)and Ramona Riley (project and communications coordinator), and supported by Patricia Richardson and Keturah Brown (Police Force). The team addressed the success of the R4CR Round 2 and explained the main topics of the ongoing project in R4CR Round 3:


•         Domestic Violence

o         Safe Home Training

            (behavioral intervention for domestic violence offenders and partners)

o         Gender-based Violence training for professionals


•         Mediation

o         Mediation skills trainings for professionals, such as police, SJIS, Court of Guardianship,

           Ministry of VSA (Women's desk, Social Services) and Safe Haven

o         Pilot Mediation in Criminal Cases

           (30 criminal offenses of a various nature, such as domestic violence cases)


Richardson and Brown, mediation skills training participants, reflected on restorative justice and explained how the police benefit from what they have learned. They emphasized how mediation helps in reducing domestic violence cases and has equipped them with an extra tool to address conflicts.


Riley indicated that she is very happy to have participated in the training and has gained useful skills in supporting women that are impacted by domestic violence.


Filemon (SJIB) said thanks to the project, SJIB will be rebranded to better adjust to modern times and engagement with the community can be increased.


The delegation showed appreciation for the work and a keen interest in the project's impact on society and the sustainability of the project for the future.


For more information on the project and services offered, email dvmproject.sxm@gmail.com.


The mediation skills training falls under the Domestic Violence and Mediation Project financed through R4CR, 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.