An Adult Restorative Justice Conference brings together the victim and the offender to talk about how they can address the harm caused by criminal behaviour.
Before participating in Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing you should get legal advice.
What is restorative justice?
An Adult Restorative Justice Conference (formerly called justice mediation) is a facilitated meeting between the person who has caused harm (the offender) and the people most affected by it (usually the victim).
Restorative justice provides an opportunity for the victim to tell their story and to hold the person who caused the harm accountable for their actions.
It also provides an opportunity for the person who caused the harm to take responsibility for their actions and take steps towards repairing that harm.
The conference is run to discuss:
- what happened;
- the effects of the offence; and
- repairing the harm caused to the victim.
Participation is voluntary for both the victim and the offender. Victims and offenders are encouraged to bring a support person or people to the conference.
Who can refer a matter to Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing?
Criminal matters can be referred to Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing at any stage of the criminal justice process. Matters can be referred by police, prosecutor, Court or corrective services.
How long does a conference take?
The conference usually takes around 2 hours, depending on the number of people involved and the nature of the harm resulting from the offence.
What could be the result?
An offender might agree to take steps to repair the harm caused by the offence, including:
- writing a letter of apology;
- return stolen property;
- provide restitution for (substantiated) losses associated with the offence, such as damage to property, or medical expenses; or
- provide compensation in recognition of the harm caused.
An offender might also agree to:
- participate in counselling, or a course to address the offending behaviour; or
- make a donation to charity.
Agreements reached between victims and offenders in Adult Restorative Justice Conferences are recorded in writing. If the offender does everything they have said they will do, the outcome may be taken into account by police or the Courts in deciding how to deal with the matter.
What if the Adult Restorative Justice Conference does not work out?
If no agreement is reached, the offender does not comply with the terms of the agreement, or they do not turn up, Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing will usually return the matter to police or the Court, who will decide what to do. Usually, if this occurs, the matter will continue through the criminal process.
If I am the victim, can I get financial assistance?
Yes. You may be able to apply to Victim Assist Queensland for financial help. Financial assistance may also be accessed through the Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing process. However, you cannot access assistance for the same losses through both processes.
Disclaimer: The material presented on this website is an information source only. The information on this website is written for people resident in, or affected by the laws of Queensland, Australia only. Links to other sites from this website are provided for the users’ convenience. The LGBTI Legal Service does not endorse these sites and is not responsible for the information on these sites or the use made of this information. If you have a specific legal problem, you should consult a professional legal advisor.