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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3504 ..

Crimes (Restorative Justice) Amendment Bill 2018

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (10.37): I move:

That the bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Amendment Bill 2018. The bill will amend the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Act 2004 to provide increased opportunities to access restorative justice for victims of crime in the ACT.

Restorative justice is a voluntary, facilitated process in which victims of crime, offenders and, where appropriate, their respective communities of care have the opportunity to participate actively in responding to an offence, establishing who has been affected and collectively making decisions about how to repair the harms experienced following an offence.

Victims of crime have reported that participating in restorative justice processes has helped them to better understand what happened, to regain a sense of control and to sleep better at night, and has lowered their symptoms of trauma and anger. While restorative justice may not meet the needs of every victim of crime, ensuring that victims of crime have the opportunity to access restorative justice if and when they need or want it is a key government priority.

The ACT has a long and proud history as an innovative national leader in the use of restorative justice practices. We are the only Australian jurisdiction to have enacted legislation which specifically relates to the operation of a restorative justice scheme. The ACT scheme currently allows for referrals to be made for offences involving young offenders and adult offenders for both serious and less serious offences.

Our scheme will further expand later this year when phase 3 is commenced by ministerial declaration, which will allow referrals to be made for family violence and sexual offences. Following the commencement of phase 3, all eligible victims of crime and all eligible offenders in the ACT will be able to access restorative justice. The declaration of phase 3 will complete the rollout of the ACT’s restorative justice scheme as envisaged by the restorative justice subcommittee, a collective of territory leaders across justice and social services sectors who reported to the ACT sentencing review committee in 2003.

The commencement of phase 2 of the restorative justice scheme early in 2016, which made the scheme available for offences committed by adult offenders, resulted in an increased number of referring entities being able to make referrals to restorative justice. I am pleased that opportunities to make referrals involving adult offenders

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