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 contact you to discuss restorative justice and may arrange to meet you separately.

If you want to take 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

At your pre-conference meeting, the facilitator will:

  • explain the process
  • tell you what 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 the meeting, the facilitator will check you still want to take part. You or the facilitator may decide at any point that a conference shouldn’t go ahead. Someone else can attend the conference in your place.
If you’re interested in this, tell the facilitator as soon as possible.

You’ll be asked to include family/whanau or friends to support you at the conference. Support people 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 community representatives. They’ll 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.

A restorative justice conference is an informal meeting facilitated 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’ll 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.

Process Chart

1. The offender pleads guilty. The judge* decides if the case should be considered for RJ.

2. Pre-conference assesment

Facilitator meets separately with the victim & offender to work out:

  • if both victim & offender are willing
  • that everyone will be and feel safe
  • if there is likely to be a positive outcome.

3. Facilitator’s assesment

Facilitator decides if an RJ conference should go ahead.

4. RJ Conference

Meeting with facilitator, victim & offender, plus any other approved people, such as interpreters or support people.

5. Conference Report

The facilitator reports back to the judge on agreements made at the conference. The judge sentences the offender.

*The offender’s lawyer can ask the judge to consider RJ
or the victim can ask for RJ through the court victim advisor or the police officer managing the case.