Restorative justice conference
This page explains what you can expect at a restorative justice conference.
- Before the conference
- Meeting your facilitator
- Who else might come to a conference?
- Your cultural needs
- The conference
- After the conference
The offender needs to take responsibility for their offending.
The restorative justice process cannot begin until an offender has pleaded or been found guilty in court. A judge then decides if restorative justice should be explored.
The offender will be asked if they are willing to take part. A trained facilitator will assess the case and the offender to see if they are suited to restorative justice. The facilitator will then meet with you separately. These are called pre-conference meetings.
If you are interested in taking part in restorative justice, tell your court victim advisor or the police officer managing your case as soon as possible so they can tell the judge.
Restorative justice only goes ahead if you want it to.
At your pre-conference meeting the facilitator will:
- explain the restorative justice process
- tell you the sort of things that might be talked about at the conference
- describe the sort of agreements that can be made
- explain how you will be kept safe and be supported
- encourage you to involve support people (such as your family or friends)
- encourage you to ask questions.
At the end of this meeting, the facilitator will check that you still want to take part. You or the facilitator may decide at any point that a conference should not go ahead. If this happens, the facilitator will tell the judge and everyone involved.
It’s possible to have someone else attend the restorative justice conference in your place. If you are interested in this, tell the facilitator as soon as possible.
You will be asked to include family/whānau or friends to support you at the conference. Support people also get a chance to speak at the conference.
The facilitator may ask if you agree to other people attending the conference, such as a police or probation officer, the offender’s lawyer, or a community representative. They will ask if you need an interpreter or any other specialist support person to come to the conference.
Your cultural needs, and those of the offender, are an important part of restorative justice. The facilitator will ask if you would like a mihi, prayer or other rituals, a particular location for the conference, or a cultural support person to attend.
A restorative justice conference is an informal, facilitated meeting between you (or your chosen representative) and the offender, support people and any others (you have agreed to).
Everyone is at the conference to talk openly and honestly about what happened. You will get the chance to say how the crime has affected you. You and the offender may agree a plan of action for the offender to complete to help put things right.
The facilitator writes a report describing what happened at the conference and any agreements made, including timeframes.
You will get a copy of the report as will the judge, the offender (or their lawyer) and anyone else involved in the case, such as the police or probation officer, and court victim advisor.
The facilitator makes sure the judge gets the report before the offender is sentenced. The judge decides whether to include any agreements made at the restorative justice conference as part of the offender’s sentence.