Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 August 2009) . . Page.. 3765 ..
caused harm whilst ensuring that the person harmed is heard and an opportunity for healing and restoration takes place. Restorative justice brings about restoration rather than revenge or punishment and accountability rather than retribution. More than an abstract intellectual theory, restorative justice results in greater victim satisfaction and reduced recidivism by the offender.
The issue of disruptive behaviour in schools has garnered significant attention recently. I believe that this is not due to it being a recent phenomenon but is largely because of new forms emerging. One need only think of cyberbullying and bystander behaviour, for example. We are becoming more and more aware of issues such as this and we as a society are not tolerant of it. It has been suggested that incidents of bullying have become more common due to the competitive nature of today’s society. Other people point to changes in information technology, as I said. Indeed, the chamber has seen evidence of this with the ill-conceived and contemptible cyber-attack on Ms Gallagher.
When adults engage in such behaviour, it is no surprise to anyone in this house that there have been incidents in schools across Australia where mobile phones have been used to alert other students that conflict between students is taking place, adding to the level of victim humiliation. And there have been incidents where the victim has been filmed, with footage placed on YouTube for general consumption. In the last Assembly I was the chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People, which addressed this very issue, amongst others.
Clearly, schools are one of the principal settings in which a young person spends a lot of time. This is not to imply that disruptive behaviour such as bullying occurs only in this setting. I have often said that it occurs in this place more than is necessary. It is not a problem unique to young persons. Certainly the genesis of some incidents played out on school grounds in school time may be beyond the school environment. These may be played out within the confines of our educational institutions later.
Over 80 per cent of ACT schools have undertaken professional learning in restorative practice. Whilst it is not a magic bullet, the excellent results that we have seen from the use of this practice demonstrate its effectiveness. Members can refer to evidence brought before the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People in its inquiry on this matter during the last Assembly.
Charnwood-Dunlop is a brilliant example of what has been achieved, but there are many more. Restorative practices have also been introduced into Belconnen high, Hawker primary, Red Hill primary school and Hughes primary school. Circle training has been introduced into Palmerston primary and Evatt primary. These schools have also requested professional development workshops in the stand-down period in January and during the year in staff meetings to either assist them in introducing restorative practices or support current implementation progress. These workshops were facilitated by officers of the Department of Education and Training.
Arawang primary school has asked the Department of Education and Training to assist the school in a restorative practice project aimed at embedding and maintaining quality practice and in maintaining the integrity of the practice. The project team will