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Rape Crisis says Alliance Justice policy visionary

Rape Crisis today applauded the Alliance justice policy saying it was visionary yet practical with its focus on restorative justice and victims rights.

“We’re pleased that the Alliance has come forward with a justice policy that balances punishment with the need for rehabilitation and prevention,” said Claire Benson, National Spokeswoman for Rape Crisis, “Rather then providing ambulances at the bottom of the cliff, the Alliance are fencing that cliff off.”

The key points of the Alliance justice policy for Rape Crisis are trialling a restorative justice system, co-ordinating and evaluating violence programmes and addressing compensation issues for victims.

“In our current system the victim is left out, receiving little if any compensation, thus sending the message to offenders that our society values the victim as little as they do,” says Ms Benson, “A restorative justice system considers the relationship between the offender and the victim – and part of that system must be to revalue the victim and to compensate them.”

Rape Crisis says that under National, compensation to rape and sexual abuse survivors has declined greatly. Until 1992 survivors were entitle to lump sum compensation of $10,000 and counselling costs. After the removal of lump sum compensation survivors were entitle to 20 sessions of counselling at the rate of $50 per session. The number of initial funded sessions has declined to 10, while costs have only risen to $55 per session from 1992 to 1999.

“We’re pleased that the Alliance justice policy is based on providing a long term strategy of crime prevention rather than focusing on the populist vote-catching of ‘lock’em up’ policies of some of the other parties,” says Ms Benson, “The Alliance justice policy is supported by the policies of Labour and the Greens, providing us with a way forward for the future.”

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