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Victim Justice - Matt Robson

Hon Matt Robson
Minister of Corrections, Minister for Courts
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

News release

Victim Justice

3rd March 2000

"Victim's needs, whether emotional, financial or material will be paramount in a new partnership between government and the community," Minister of Corrections, Matt Robson says.

He was launching New Zealand's first Restorative Justice Practise Manual which will be used as a working guide in the restorative justice pilot scheme in Waitakere District court. The pilot will last for six months and will take on 50 cases to test the viability of restorative processes.

"I know that groups like Restorative Justice Trust have pioneered these sorts of victim focused processes with very little resources. Times have changed. You now have a government who wants to work with you. Let's get started."

Restorative justice introduces new techniques aimed at reducing re-offending and placing victim's needs in the centre of the justice process. In a supervised conference offenders who plead guilty will come face to face with their victims.

Victims determine for themselves, with offenders, what should happen to make amends.

"The justice system to date fails in two key areas: it fails to make offenders fully accountable for their actions, and it fails victims. It also fails the community.

"Under the old system, offenders are removed from the consequences of their crime. Now they will have to face the consequences of their actions, and that can have profound effects on them.

"The first adult court pilot will begin next month in Waitakere, and I am also keen to build on the success of diversion schemes like Project Turnaround in Timaru which has successfully reduced the re-offending rate by 7% while the national crime level continued to rise.

"In this present budget round consideration has been given to funding a range of court pilots. This will be an important step forward.

"There are many other community initiatives in at least 11 other towns and cities which are finding success with restorative justice processes and diversion techniques. This is what it's all about: the community getting involved in the justice system," said Matt Robson.


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