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Monday, April 12, 2021

ACT Restorative Justice Scheme records 98% satisfaction rate

A 98% participant satisfaction rate has been recorded in the ACT’s Restorative Justice Scheme, since the decision was made to include sexual and family violence offences two years ago.

The scheme allows victims of a crime to meet with the offenders in an empowering conversation to discuss how the incident affected them, promoting offender accountability.

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the near 100% satisfaction rate showed the scheme to be highly effective.

“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,” he 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% 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.”

Restorative justice conferences are referred by criminal justice agencies and only occur with consent and when it is safe to do so.

In the past two years, the scheme has also seen 191 family violence offences and 15 sexual offences referred for restorative justice, with 22% of family violence victims and 30% of sexual offence participating in conferences.

It also saw 40% of young offenders and 10% of adult offenders participating in conferences for family violence matters.

In the past two years, 40% of adult offenders participated in conferences for sexual offences.

ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said the court welcomed the expansion of restorative justice options in the Territory.

“It is a voluntary process which empowers victims and offenders to address the harm suffered through criminal offending,” she said.

“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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