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Restorative Justice in Sexual Abuse Cases

Restorative Justice in Sexual Abuse Cases

Restorative Justice Aotearoa spokesman, Mike Hinton, has responded to comments made by the Sensible Sentencing Trust about the appropriateness of Restorative Justice in sexual abuse cases.

Mr Hinton said, It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a particular case when we have no knowledge of the case. However, we would contend that Victims of Sexual abuse should have the same rights of every other victim of crime and that they not be excluded from the Restorative Justice process. It is obviously a specialised area and experts from within this sector are supportive of Restorative Justice. There are also specialised services available such as Project Restore, who work solely in the Sexual offending area.

The participation in a Restorative Justice process is bound by Principles of Best Practice that state quite clearly that Restorative Justice processes are underpinned by voluntariness. Nobody should ever be coerced into under-going a Restorative Justice process, our trained facilitators are absolutely diligent in ensuring any participant of a Restorative Justice process is there because they want to be there.

The issue of safety and re-victimising the victim are paramount concerns with any RJ process and are the foremost consideration before even contemplating a conference.

From the Christchurch article our position would be one of complete support for the sexual abuse victim, her needs and choices would be what determined the actions of any Restorative Justice facilitator. It is an appalling thing to have happened and the Court process appears to have been an ordeal that could have been less arduous.

For any specialised Sexual Offending Restorative Justice inquires contact Project Restore, projectrestore@ihug.co.nz

ENDS

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