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Australia: Restorative Justice in the Australian Criminal Justice System

31st December 2014

This Australian Institute of Criminology report by Jacqueline Joudo Larsen describes the Australian approach to restorative justice, and the outcomes.

Australia operates a federal system with each of the six states being responsible for their own legislation. In New South Wales, Youth Justice is handled on a system of targeted interventions. It is a police decision as to whether a restorative justice approach is taken in respect of the youth. Prosecutors or courts may also refer the youth to a restorative justice conference at a later stage.

Plans which result from these conferences may include a requirement that the offender completes work training or community service, or apologises or gives some form of reparation to the victim or the community. Evaluation showed the success of such measures, and victims and offenders overwhelmingly reported the schemes to be successful.

Restorative justice conferences are available for adults in New South Wales and South Australia. Victim Offender Mediation is also available in all states apart from Victoria and the Capital Territory.

Research suggests positive impacts for both victims and offenders. It appears to most impact on recidivism when used amongst repeat offenders, and when included post sentence. They further intend to extend the use of restorative justice to more serious offenders, citing the positive effects on recidivism, victim/offender satisfaction with the criminal justice system and positive attitudinal changes in the offenders.

To read the report click here.