The Whanganui Restorative Justice Trust is a nationally accredited provider of restorative justice. The day to day operations of the programme are organised by the restorative justice Coordinator who works in conjunction with the Whanganui, Marton, Taihape, Taumarunui and Ohakune Courts.
One of the key features of the programme is that it utilises a community based model of restorative justice whereby two community representatives are chosen from a pool of trained volunteers to attend each victim / offender conference. They are chosen for their skills, knowledge and experience as well as their appropriateness to a particular case. Their role at the conference is to provide a community perspective on the offending and to offer support to the victim and offender.
- aims to restore the well-being of the victim
- gives the victims of crime an opportunity to be heard
- includes a facilitated conference with community representative support
- holds the offender accountable
- reports back to the Court on outcomes
- takes place within the Court’s system
- considers options to reduce re-offending
- is embedded in NZ legislation
- is organised by the restorative justice Coordinator
Restorative Justice conferences may be offered when:
- Courts make a referral
- the offender admits guilt
- the victim is willing to attend
- the offender is prepared to look at ways to repair the harm done to the victim
Before the Conference
After offender pleads guilty a referral is made to restorative justice. The facilitator will interview the victim and offender separately to decide the appropriateness for a conference. A day and time is arranged to suit both parties. Two community representatives are chosen to also attend the conference. Respect for the cultural customs of the victim and offender is an important part of the process.
This is a private meeting between the victim and offender. It is important that they both have people present to support them. Participants are there to discuss what happened, who has been affected and ways to move forward.
After the Conference
The facilitator writes a report for the Court. Offender returns to Court for sentencing.
Benefits of Restorative Justice
- 74% of victims felt better following a conference
- 80% of victims said they would recommend restorative justice to others in a similar situation
- 84% of victims were satisfied with the conference they attended
- Offenders who participated in the restorative justice process are 20% less likely to re-offend