Restorative justice in family violence cases – where is New Zealand at?

Mr Jon Everest1

1 Ei.I Ltd – Growing out of Conflict, Wellington NZ

In New Zealand, Restorative Justice is now firmly embedded in pre-sentence criminal proceedings, particularly since the amendments to the Sentencing Act in 2014 which requires the Court to refer cases to restorative justice where an offender has pleaded guilty, where there is at least one identified victim, and where no restorative process has previously occurred in relation to the offending.

When Restorative Justice was initially piloted in NZ Courts in 2001, family violence and sexual offending were explicitly excluded. Over recent years this position has gradually changed and, in 2013, the New Zealand Ministry of Justice published restorative justice standards for family violence cases. Many RJ providers across New Zealand now contract to the Ministry to provide restorative justice services in these cases.

Jon will outline the evolution of the use of Restorative Justice in family violence cases in New Zealand and ask what has changed, what policy and safeguards are in place and what role can restorative justice play in addressing family violence? He will talk about some of the practical challenges of undertaking this work safely and what is needed to overcome these, including details of the systems being developed and evaluated in Porirua.

Jon’s first career was in policing in both the UK and Hong Kong where he served as an Inspector in the lead up to the 1997 handover. He completed his MSc at The Scarman Centre at Leicester University before specialising in conflict resolution as a mediator and restorative justice facilitator. He facilitated men’s stopping violence programmes for 6 years and has been providing court based restorative justice since 2003 and has been a lead trainer and assessor of restorative justice facilitators since 2008 for the NZ Ministry of Justice. He is accredited as both a family violence and sexual offending restorative justice facilitator, and as an FDR Provider. Jon is a Fellow and Director of the Resolution Institute and is Standards and Practice Consultant to the Diana Unwin Chair of Restorative Justice at Victoria University of Wellington.


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