Police use of court alternatives for young persons in New South Wales
Through the use of warnings, cautions and conferences instead of court proceedings, the [Young Offenders Act (YOA)] established procedures for dealing efficiently and directly with children who commit certain offences. Previously reported statistics suggested that diversionary options for young persons have not been used uniformly and equitably across the State. The purpose of the current study was to measure the level of variation across [NSW Police Force’s Local Area Commands (LACs)] in the proportion of young persons diverted from court, after adjusting for factors police must or can take into account when considering whether to deal with a young person via a caution or a conference.
Some sex offences are best dealt with out of the courts
from the article by Greg Barns in The Age:
....In the context of the royal commission into sexual abuse in institutions, it is timely to consider whether or not all cases that can be categorised as sex offences ought to be dealt with through the traditional court process. In particular, those cases that involve allegations of abuse but do not involve penetration or other forms of physical violence.
Evaluation of the Family Group Conferencing pilot program
from the report by Boxall, Morgan and Terer
The outcome evaluation provided some evidence that the FGC pilot program had delivered a number of positive short-term outcomes for the small number of families and professionals who were involved in the program. These outcomes included:
Evaluation of alternative dispute resolution initiatives in the care and protection jurisdiction of the NSW Children's Court
The post-conference surveys completed by parents and family members, legal representatives and Community Services Caseworkers and Managers Casework were analysed to determine participant satisfaction with the conference process and outcomes.
There was a high level of satisfaction among parents and family members with the conference process, particularly in terms of having an opportunity to tell their side of the story, other people listening to what they had to say and being treated fairly. A number of parents and family members who participated in a conference said that it was the first time they felt that they had been given an opportunity to speak directly to the other parties and to express their point of view.
Youth Justice Conferences versus Children’s Court: A comparison of cost-effectiveness
Aim: To compare the cost-effectiveness of Youth Justice Conferences (YJCs) to matters eligible for YJCs but dealt with in the Children’s Court.
Method: The costs for Police, Legal Aid, Children’s Court, Juvenile Justice YJC administration and Juvenile Justice administration of court orders were separately estimated using a combination of top-down and bottom-up costing methods.
These were combined with data from matched samples of young people who were to be dealt with by a YJC and young people who could have been dealt with by a YJC but instead were dealt with in the Children’s Court in 2007 in order to estimate average costs per person for each process.
Developing ethical identities in young offenders through restorative justice practice in Australia
It is clear that, at least on some occasions, young offenders perceive being coerced - whether directly or indirectly - into apologising to the victims. There are three conclusions that arise out of these observations.
Project Restore: An exploratory study of restorative justice and sexual violence
Unlike the early development of restorative justice processes which was practice led,Project Restore first engaged with various bodies of knowledge, including the separate fields of sexual victimisation, sexual offending and restorative justice. They also gathered information from researchers working at the intersection of restorative justice and sexual violence or gendered violence.
Investigating the implementation of restorative justice practices through circle time
This project was undertaken at a Catholic single sex school. The school has a strong emphasis on student wellbeing and is continually looking at ways to improve the various programs offered and strategies employed at the whole school through a preventative approach to student management. Using restorative justice as opposed to retributive justice has grown significantly in schools recently. The values that underpin restorative justice complement very well the underlying values of our school.
The choice to focus on circle time was based on a personal interest fostered by research and something that was achievable within the context of the project. In my current leadership position I am also responsible for reviewing, developing and implementing student wellbeing policies so I found myself in the ideal position to develop and deliver a worthwhile project.
Restorative justice: a way forward with the banks?
There are calls to prosecute and imprison individuals, rather than merely fine the companies, but putting them in the dock is expensive and they can often use legal technicalities to avoid it. It does little for the victims over and above the compensation which the bank is paying anyway. So what can be done?
A chance to heal unholy wounds
For many years, religious organisations have grappled with the need to improve the ways they deal with abusive behaviour by their own clergy. In my previous role as director of social justice in the Uniting Church during the 1990s, I worked with my colleagues to develop sexual abuse complaints procedures. In that task I gained an appreciation of just how challenging and complex this issue can be.