Source: (2013) Restorative Justice: An International Journal. 1(3):305-310.

The emergence and evolution of restorative justice has generally been understood as a bottom-up development. Early initiatives in most places have been started by practitioners searching for new and alternative ways of dealing with crime and conflict. Restorative justice is a typical field of social practice where enlightened pioneers setting up small-scale pilot projects have paved the way. Their paths, however, have not always been smooth and in many countries restorative justice initiatives in the 1980s and 1990 had to be would up due to a lack of public recognition and resources. Whereas the strength of many pilot projects lay in their innovative, demonstrative and exemplary character, their weakness was frequently to be found in their stand-alone position: they were isolated within their own organisation, vis-a-vis others sectors and vis-a-vis developments in other countries. In many cases it was only after the establishment of national umbrella organisations or other coordinating bodies, often with academic support and followed by national legislation, that a breakthrough could be realised. Today, many countries -- for example in Europe -- dispose of national legislation in the field of restorative justice but fail to implement programmes nationwide mainly because of a missing body that is responsible for national coordination and support. (excerpt0