Restorative justice pilot in Porirua
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.