Restorative Justice Conferencing

A restorative justice conference is an exchange of information between an offender and a victim, usually face-to-face.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide:

  • victims with an opportunity to talk about how an offence has affected them and others close to them
  • offenders with an opportunity to accept responsibility for their actions and repair the harm done
  • victims, offenders and their supporters a chance to meet and discuss the crime and the outcome.

A restorative justice conference may include:

  • victims and their supporters such as family and friends
  • offenders and their supporters such as family and friends
  • a convenor (a person trained to facilitate restorative justice processes)
  • others who may be invited such as police informant, community representative, school teacher or sports coach.

Advantages for the victim

In addition to telling an offender how their actions affected them and their family, victims can also play an important role in deciding how the offender/s should make amends for their actions.

Advantages for the offender

Restorative justice can happen at any time in the criminal justice system:

  • Avoid court: If the offender participates in the conference and completes the terms of their agreement, the matter will not be taken any further by police. The offender does not have to appear in court and a conviction is not recorded.
  • Reduced sentence: If the incident goes to court after the offender has participated in a conference, the court may consider whether the offender has accepted responsibility for the offence. The court may (but is not required to) reduce the sentence.
  • Suspended sentence: The court may use restorative justice as part of the offender's sentencing and suspend final sentencing until the conference has been finalised.

For more information visit the Justice and Community Safety website.

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