Expanding restorative justice in the ACT

Image from IStock
Image from IStock

On 28 June 2023, a motion has been passed in the ACT legislative assembly with regards to expanding restorative justice in Canberra.

Restorative justice aims to work with communities affected by crime, with the intention of raising up and building strong communities. Professor Miranda Forsyth, the Director of the ANU Centre of Restorative Justice, was quoted in the motion:

Restorative justice is an approach to crime and violence that focuses on healing the harm to all impacted by the incident. It can occur alongside, after or instead of other justice approaches, such as a criminal prosecution. 28 June 2023 Legislative Assembly for the ACT PROOF P2043 Restorative justice is based on dialogue, and provides space for the victim survivor to talk about how they have experienced the harm, and to contribute to a dialogue about what needs to happen to make things better in the future. It also allows those who have caused harm to take active responsibility for making amends and seeking to repair the harm. The ACT is a world-leader in restorative justice and should continue to deepen its engagement in this space.

Meredith Rossner, Professor and Deputy Director of the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU, said: There is a strong international evidence base that restorative justice can help in the aftermath of sexual harm. There is increasingly a recognition that, in order to best meet victim survivors’ needs, restorative justice programs need to be available in a range of contexts, including for victim survivors who choose not to pursue a formal criminal justice path. Restorative justice practitioners and other support services across Australia and New Zealand have developed safe and effective models for the delivery of restorative justice, both inside and outside the criminal justice system.