Tue, 31/05/2011

Mary is extremely pleased with the recent announcement by the ACT Attorney General, Mr Simon Corbell MLA, that the Government will be providing $702,000, to support young indigenous people in the restorative justice program through the creation of an Indigenous Friend position and funding to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Circle Sentencing Court.

“I have advocated for a long time for the inclusion of the indigenous friend position in the ACT Restorative Justice Unit,” Mary said. “Having worked for many years with indigenous communities, I have seen the positive outcomes such initiatives can have for individuals and communities,” Mary commented. “From my consultation with the ACT’s Indigenous community, I am sure this initiative will be welcomed.

“Of the1326 young people referred to restorative justice since it began in January 2005, only 11.6% were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander youth,” Ms Porter stated. “Having someone present with similar cultural values and who is a respected member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community will help increase participation rates in restorative justice.”

Through restorative justice, offenders, victims and their families and friends meet face to face in a forum that gives victims an opportunity to say how the offence has affected them and their families, and gives offenders an opportunity to accept responsibility for their actions and to repair the harm they have done.

This funding demonstrates the Government’s genuine commitment to the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement, which was reached last year between the ACT
Government and the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body.
“I have seen the positive outcomes restorative justice can have and I know this initiative will help restore our indigenous young people to our community and divert them from custodial sentences”, Mary concluded.