Deborah completed her degree in Social Policy at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown in the early 90’s and trained as a youth worker in the USA. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Restorative Practices from the University of Ulster and is currently completing her Masters in Human Rights Law and Criminal Justice at Queen’s University.
Deborah has been involved in the area of justice work, peace building and conflict transformation for the past 28 years. She has worked as a restorative justice practitioner and manager for the past 22 years, including the management of the first restorative justice programme in the USA from 1993 – 1997. Deborah has been involved with the development of restorative justice in Northern Ireland since 1997 and played a key role in transferring her learnings from the USA into the Northern Ireland context. She is currently the Co-Director of Northern Ireland Alternatives, a community based restorative justice programme operating at grassroots level in North/West Belfast, East Belfast, South Belfast and Bangor which works closely with young people and adults involved in crime, anti-social behaviour and interface violence.
Deborah is actively involved in training in restorative practices and mediation both within local communities, schools, universities and statutory agencies and has provided training, consultancy and presentation/lectures at a local, regional and international level. She is currently a Board Member of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at QUB and Include Youth.