Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

New review of the effectiveness of Restorative Justice programs

Media release

18 February 2014

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) today released a new study Restorative justice in the Australian criminal justice system.

“This study is a 10 year review of restorative justice programs in Australian jurisdictions, and is a valuable guide to how they have progressed, and what does and doesn’t work,” AIC Director, Dr Adam Tomison said.

“It allows a longitudinal comparison with similar research prepared by the AIC in 2002.”

Restorative justice is important because it allows the victim into the criminal justice process and can lead to conflicts being resolved and fears being decreased

Victims who participate in restorative justice are also important as their input can help offenders understand and take responsibility for the harm they have caused.

By the end of 2013, a wide range of restorative justice options were available across Australia:

  • conferencing for young offenders was available in all Australian states and territories;
  • conferencing for adult offenders was available in New South Wales and South Australia;
  • circle sentencing was available in New South Wales and Western Australia; and
  • victim–offender mediation was available in jurisdictions, with the exception of Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

“The capacity of restorative justice to reduce reoffending is still contested - some research shows net positive results and while others shows no difference,” Dr Tomison said.

“This new review does show that a growing body of research indicates that restorative justice may be more effective for more prolific offenders, more effective for more serious offenders and more effective post- rather than pre-sentence,” Dr Tomison said.

Research found other benefits from Restorative Justice programs include victim satisfaction, offender responsibility for actions, and increased compliance with a range of orders.

For Comment: Colin Campbell 0418 159 525