What is restorative justice (RJ)?
It’s an opportunity for wrongdoers and those who have been wronged to meet face to face separately from any other processes that might be occurring (such as a Court case)
Why do restorative justice?
Meeting face to face enables parties to talk about what happened, how they have been affected, and what might be offered to help right the wrong, enabling them to move on from the event.
Where does restorative justice originate?
Traditionally Maori have used restorative practices to address wrongs.
Today it has been adapted as part of New Zealand’s justice system and by other practitioners including some working in schools
What is a Conference?
A ‘conference’ is a formal name for the meeting between all the parties concerned
Who can request a conference
Any affected party
Do I have to attend if asked?
No. It is a voluntary process. No one can be forced to attend
Who will be there?
RJ facilitators, the offender, the victim and support people if requested. (Your lawyer may attend as a support person)
What do the facilitators do?
RJ facilitators listen to all parties and help each tell their story. They write a report which is sent to the judge if the case is a court case, and a copy to those attending
What don’t facilitators do?
They don’t take sides, give advice or make rulings or break confidentiality
What happens to the report?
The judge has to read it and take account of it in deciding on a sentence. He or she might read bits of it out in the court. Aside from that it is a confidential document and the RJ process is a confidential one.
What kinds of cases are suitable for RJ?
Most cases that come before the courts are suitable. You don’t have to worry about whether your particular case is, as the facilitators assess this and make enabling and safe decisions, letting you know the reasons if they can’t accept the case.