Richard Kennett, M.Ed.
Richard is an educator and experienced mediator. Trained in England and Canada, he attained his Master in Education degree from the University of Manitoba in 1975. He earned certification in Family Group Conference facilitation (International Institute of Restorative Practices, Minneapolis, 1997), Community Justice Forum facilitation (Manitoba Justice, Winnipeg, 2002), and Conflict Resolution specializing in Mediation (Mediation Services, Winnipeg, 2007). He was a school teacher and administrator for over 30 years, then for ten years the program manager of the Manitoba Justice initiative called “Lighthouses”, a crime prevention program for engaging youth in recreational and educational activities outside school hours. He also has a wealth of volunteer and community board service at local and provincial levels.
Richard is prepared to facilitate interpersonal problem solving such as Mediation or Group Conferencing for schools and school divisions. His practical experience in Restorative Justice includes:
- Founding member of the St. John’s Youth Justice Council in Winnipeg in 1995, serving as Chairperson for 6 years. The Council received youths 12 – 17 years of age, who were facing criminal charges in court, to bring them together with victims and community members and have them repair the harm done.
- Founding member in 2001 of the Winnipeg Community Justice Council which coordinated resources and initiatives for Winnipeg’s community justice committees.
- Since 2006, he has been a regular volunteer mediator for Mediation Services in Winnipeg for court and community cases. Mediations are similar to conferences/forums but they tend to involve just disputants and/or victims and offenders. He has facilitated sixty-two mediations that sometimes have involved just juveniles or just adults of all ages, or both.
Restorative Justice processes resolve interpersonal problems with a focus on rebuilding relationships as an alternative to punishment. They typically involve participants meeting to understand the dispute and work out a mutually agreeable resolution. Mediation is used where a small group are involved – a victim and offender or two disputants and sometimes one or two support people. Where an incident involves many victims, offenders or disputants and interested community members, a group conferencing process can be used. Pre-meeting case-work with separate parties sets the stage for a face-to-face meeting where the facilitator guides discussion through specific stages to create a written agreement that fully satisfies all participants. Follow-up progress meetings are possible if needed.
Mediation and group conferencing can be applied with adults and youth 12 to 17 years of age. Children under 12 can be successful participants but typically need additional preparation prior to a mediation or conference. Suitable incidents include:
- Incident-specific situations such as a break and enter, theft, bullying, harassment, hazing, damage to property, assault;
- Historical and multiple issues, where a conflict has existed for a long time (these cases may require a number of face-to-face meetings to reach resolution); or
- Dispute resolution regarding appropriate educational programming issues.
Participants, particularly offenders, need to take at least some responsibility for their involvement in the incident(s). The mediator/facilitator acts as listener, process guide and clarifier of interests and topics; not as judge, problem solver, legal advisor, counsellor or advocate.
Each incident is unique, so the same is true of the resolution process. The facilitator’s time and thus the costs are tailored to the situation. Richard will provide free, brief, telephone consultation about the appropriateness of mediation or group conferencing to the incident. If the school or division decides to use his services, an incident-specific contract will be developed.
For further information about Richard’s services or Education Solutions Manitoba, contact us.
Mediation or Group Conferencing for Dispute Resolution