Source: (2008) paper presented at Bringing Justice and Community Together conference sponsored by Victorian Association for Restorative Justice14 May 2008, Storey Hall, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

The existing criminal justice system is adversarial / retributive in nature. It systematically alienates and polarizes offenders and victims from each other and from the community. On the other hand the restorative justice system is restorative in nature; restoring relationship between victim – offender – community. Based on restorative justice principles, the Victim Awareness program is the only program of its kind in the Victorian prison system. Its purpose is to raise awareness amongst offenders of the ‘victimology cycle’ – that victims of sexual / physical / mental / emotional abuse (often in childhood) often go on to victimize others – and that it is in their interest to break this cycle. An empathetic response to victims is sought through restorative justice principles including repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and restitution. (excerpt)

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