Restora­tive jus­tice pi­lot in Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Porirua will be the test­ing ground for a new fam­ily vi­o­lence restora­tive jus­tice pro­gramme.

As it stands, there was a dis­con­nect oc­cur­ring be­tween restora­tive jus­tice – a vol­un­tary process that brings peo­ple to­gether to talk about what has oc­curred – through po­lice and the courts, and agen­cies that are work­ing on re­fer­rals to com­bat fam­ily vi­o­lence, Anna Cost­ley from Com­mu­nity Law Welling­ton and Hutt Val­ley said.

She is the co-or­di­na­tor of a pi­lot pro­gramme launched in Porirua on June 2, which aims to have bet­ter in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and sup­port for fam­i­lies.

‘‘There are peo­ple with a real will­ing­ness to work to­gether in this com­mu­nity to get bet­ter out­comes for fam­i­lies,’’ she said.

It is hoped it would lead to bet­ter as­sess­ment re­gard­ing the like­li­hood that some­one will re­of­fend, she said.

‘‘In the past, an of­fender would come be­fore a judge, who would re­fer them to restora­tive jus­tice or a stop­ping vi­o­lence pro­gramme.

‘‘Th­ese would work in iso­la­tion from the courts, but now there will be much more talk­ing be­tween the dif­fer­ent par­ties – with the hope of bet­ter out­comes for vic­tims and of­fend­ers.’’

Cost­ley said the pi­lot came about af­ter ‘‘many hours of meet­ings and back and forth’’, led by Com­mu­nity Law, but all agen­cies in­volved have sup­ported set­ting up the frame­work.

‘‘Ev­ery­one wants it to work and Porirua District Court and the peo­ple here are amaz­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m con­fi­dent it will be suc­cess­ful and that this will be some­thing that will help cut down re­of­fend­ing in fam­ily vi­o­lence. We’re mov­ing from good to best prac­tice.’’

District Court Judge John Walker wel­comed the new way of think­ing.

‘‘Restora­tive jus­tice can have a very im­por­tant part to play in cases of fam­ily vi­o­lence, but only where it is safe to do so,’’ he said.

‘‘This process en­ables the col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing that is so es­sen­tial to a proper risk as­sess­ment.’’

The pi­lot will be mon­i­tored and eval­u­ated in the next 12 months by restora­tive jus­tice pro­fes­sor Chris Mar­shall from Vic­to­ria Univer­sity.

Macin­tyre said when this hap­pened they might es­ca­late their con­trol and check­ing their part­ner’s com­puter his­tory or phones was one of many ways this could oc­cur.

Now any­one look­ing for in­for­ma­tion on Women’s Refuge or how to get help, could head to The Ware­house site and down the bot­tom right-hand cor­ner there was a small green and white box they could click on.

Women’s Refuge dig­i­tal me­dia man­ager Ruth Macin­tyre said the link brought up a small in­ter­nal site, which meant that if the per­pe­tra­tor tried to check the brows­ing his­tory on the com­puter all they would see was The Ware­house.

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