Restorative justice empowers victims of crime

Australian Greens

Canberra’s world leading Restorative Justice Scheme has achieved an almost 100% participant satisfaction rate in the two years since it was expanded to include sexual and family violence offences.

Restorative justice empowers victims of crime to meet with offenders and discuss how an offence has affected them, and promotes offender accountability. Criminal justice agencies can make referrals to restorative justice and conferences can occur with informed consent where it is assessed as safe and suitable to proceed.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the high level of satisfaction reported by participants shows that restorative justice is highly effective in reducing ongoing trauma experienced by victims of crime.

“A 98% satisfaction rate for family violence and sexual offences over the past two years confirms restorative justice is safe, respectful, fair and meaningful for victims,” Minister Rattenbury said. “Restorative justice is also a powerful method of building an offender’s understanding of the consequences of their actions to build longer-term safety.”

“One example of this is seen in family violence agreements where there was an 87 per cent compliance rate. An agreement is a formal requirement between a victim and offender for the person responsible to make amends and engage in activities designed to reduce violent behaviour.”

“These figures show the valuable role of restorative justice in creating a safer and more peaceful community.”

Other outcomes since November 2018 and presented to victim advocacy agencies today included:

  • 191 family violence offences and 15 sexual offences were referred for restorative justice, including eight serious or indictable offences;
  • 22% of victims participated in family violence conferences and 30% of victims participated in sexual offence conferences;
  • 40% of young offenders and 10% of adult offenders participated in conferences for family violence matters; and
  • 40% of adult offenders participated in conferences for sexual offences.

As stated by Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker:

“The Courts have welcomed the expansion of restorative justice options. It is a voluntary process which empowers victims and offenders to address the harm suffered through criminal offending.

The process provides an avenue for real resolution of the impacts of crime which goes beyond that which can be provided by the judicial system. It contributes to the wellbeing of our affected citizenry to the benefit of the whole community.”

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