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The ANU and Australian Institute for Criminology (AIC) have completed a ten year evaluation of the ACT’s Restorative Justice Scheme for the ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS). The Phase One evaluation shows that the scheme is delivering positive outcomes for victims of crime and reducing offending behaviour. The reports says that 98 per cent of victims, the young offenders and support people who participated in conferences between 2005 and 2016, found the process satisfying.
The Restorative Justice Program, conducted by the Restorative Justice Unit, applies a victim-centric approach to the administration of justice. In Restorative Justice Conferences, both victims of crime and offenders are encouraged to participate in open and frank discussions about the criminal behaviour, the harm caused, what might help make things better for those affected and how further harm can be minimised or even prevented.
In Phase One offenders referred to participate in the program were generally young males who had been charged with a violent or property offence.
The evaluation found young offenders who took part in Restorative Justice Conferences were less likely to re-offend, or to re-offend as often, as those who had not gone through the process.
The final stage of the Restorative Justice scheme was recently rolled out to include all offence categories committed by young and adult offenders. The Government will continue to evaluate the program’s benefits as it works to meet the needs of victims and support the reduction of repeat offending.
Restorative Justice Conferencing supports the government’s commitment to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025.