Katy Gallagher, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital TerritoryVisit - http://www.act.gov.au
Katy Gallagher - Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory
Katy Gallagher - Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory

Section: Mary Porter, MLA | Media Releases

A better way?

Released 10/04/2008

Restorative Justice is a way of bringing together all those involved in a conflict or crime to give victims a voice, repair harm, and restore the community.

Today, Mary Porter, Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People, tabled the final report into Restorative Justice Principles in Youth Settings.

In tabling the report, Ms Porter said “Restorative Practice is no ‘magic bullet’ however by doing things with people rather than to people; we can grow our capacity to deal with these incidents in our community in a way that rehabilitates both the victim and the offender, rather than just punishing the offender.”

The committee found that the ACT is internationally recognised for its Restorative Justice work, however recommended that the ACT Government capitalise on this success as well as expressing a word of caution.

“There are some young people experiencing disadvantage, mental illness or behavioural issues who may need alternative support and specialist services,” Ms Porter said, “some situations demand a different response and our policies and procedures need to reflect that, and the community needs to know what they are, thereby giving confidence that the safety and protection of our young people is paramount.”

The ACT has a well established Restorative Justice Unit, which has proven that the practice can reduce recidivism in the criminal justice area, there is also a circle sentencing program and a large number of schools using Restorative Practice.

Ms Porter said she was pleased to learn that 47 schools across all education systems in the ACT were on board, with the number growing; however the Committee cautions that “this practice needs resourcing and must be consistent.”

The committee did note reported difficulty in collecting consistent data, due to the variety of programs that exist in various schools and it recommended that this be addressed.

The report makes 23 recommendations including calls to support the introduction of the next phase of implementation by the Restorative Justice Unit with more serious crime, as not only have victims found a way to have a voice but there is clear evidence that re-offending has been reduced.

The final and interim report, in addition to submissions made to the Committee, may be viewed at:

http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/committees/index1.asp?committee=53&inquiry=155

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