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Restorative Justice guidelines released

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Justice

31 May 2004

Media Statement

Restorative Justice guidelines released

Justice Minister Phil Goff today released a publication outlining best practice guidelines for the use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system.

"Restorative Justice in New Zealand: Best Practice sets out the basic standards that must be followed during the restorative justice process," Mr Goff said.

“Restorative justice has the potential to provide a more effective response to offending and victimisation than is often possible through the formal criminal justice system.

"It brings victims and offenders together in a form of mediation that allows the victim to confront the offender, explain the impact the offending has had on them, and to participate in deciding what an appropriate penalty would be.

"However, because restorative justice does bring the victim and the offender face to face, it is essential that it is used in an appropriate manner so that people are not further victimised by a process designed to be beneficial to them.

"These guidelines set basic standards such as ensuring such meetings do not go ahead without the consent of both the victim and offender; that the process holds the offender to account for his or her actions, and that participants are kept physically and emotionally safe throughout the process.

"The publication also supports the Government's commitment to restorative justice which is reflected in legislation such as the Sentencing Act 2002, Parole Act 2002 and Victims’ Rights Act and through initiatives such as the court-referred restorative justice pilot underway in the Auckland, Waitakere, Hamilton and Dunedin District Courts," Mr Goff said.

The guidelines were produced by the Ministry of Justice following consultation with restorative justice providers. They are supported by new funding in this year's Budget of $4.055 million over four years, which will fund workshops to educate providers on the new best practice requirements and assist them to make specific improvements where necessary.

“This publication is one of a few available internationally that identifies best practice in restorative justice. I am pleased that New Zealand is continuing to contribute to what is seen by some as the most significant development in criminal justice reform for many years,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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