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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 12 Hansard (30 October) . .

Page.. 3869..


Justice—restorative

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, can you update the Assembly on how restorative justice is progressing in the ACT?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. The ACT's restorative justice framework is one of the great achievements of self-government and, indeed, one of the great achievements of this Labor administration and previous Labor administrations. It has, I should acknowledge, been supported across the chamber by Liberal Attorneys-General as well.

The process for restorative justice first commenced with the re-integrative shaming experiment in 1995 commenced by one of my predecessors, Attorney-General Connolly. Restorative justice practices involve different ways of doing justice, and we continue to see effective outcomes in relation to restitution, the involvement of offenders in community volunteer work, apologies and services to victims and a whole range of other ways in which we see restoration to victims and effective shaming and rehabilitation in many instances of offenders.

We continue to see strong levels of engagement in phase 1 of the restorative justice program as it continues to work with juvenile offenders and their victims. In 2013-14, 113 referrals were received involving 231 offences, 130 young offenders and 171 victims. The ACT's restorative justice scheme celebrated a significant milestone recently by convening its 1000th restorative justice conference since the scheme's commencement.

In 2013-14, 230 people completed surveys following their participation in the scheme, consisting of 71 young offenders, 66 offenders' supporters, 79 victims and 14 supporters of victims. Overall, respondents remain overwhelmingly positive about their experiences with RJ. Satisfaction rates were 97 per cent, exceeding the key performance indicator of 95 per cent.

Of the agreements completed in the most recent full financial year we saw 88 hours worked by young offenders for the direct benefit of their victims, 152 hours worked by young offenders for the direct benefit of the community at large, nearly $8,000 worth of compensation paid by offenders to victims for damages and losses incurred, $185 worth of donations to charitable donations, and 101 hours completed by young offenders at counselling, educational programs and other pro-social activities.

These are really strong results as we engage young people in alternative justice sentencing options which are providing better restoration to victims, better support to victims and better recognition of wrongdoing and restitution by offenders. These are great outcomes and ones the government is looking at very closely as we undertake the next stage of work for our justice reform strategy over this year and the next year.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Attorney, can you please outline how restorative justice is impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth?


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