After Assault, Some Campuses Focus On Healing Over Punishment (National Public Radio USA)

On-campus disciplinary processes for assaults that are reported have drawn criticism from both survivors and those accused of assault. According to federal statistics, only about one in six survivors of sexual assault on college campuses report the incident to school authorities.

So some campuses are considering a new approach. The process, called "restorative justice," looks more like a therapeutic intervention aimed at healing than a trial focused on guilt and punishment. Campus administrators are increasingly open to it, despite concern from some activists that it's too soft on perpetrators of sexual assault.  For the full story see....

2017 Monthly Restorative Community Network catch-ups

From July 2017, the Canberra Restorative Community Network will meet on the last MONDAY of the month from 5.30pm - 6.30 pm at Fellows Café (the orange corner), University House, Australian National University (unless it is a public holiday and we will get together on the following day Tuesday).  This is a chance for an informal catch-up with colleagues to share ideas and developments from local, national and international contexts on the applications of restorative approaches in various settings. Everyone welcome. No RSVP necessary.

MONDAY 31st JULY 2017





Transcripts of our restorative community network workshops and associated reports

University sexual assault and sexual harassment project

The Australian Human Rights Commission is undertaking a project on sexual assault and sexual harassment of university students. This work includes:

  • a national university student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment; and
  • an open call for submissions on sexual assault and sexual harassment at university.

It builds on the Commission’s extensive experience leading projects of this kind, including the Review of the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force and conducting national workplace sexual harassment surveys for the past 12 years.

Read more here or contact Codie Bell for more info at

The Healing Hand of Restorative Justice: An Interview with ANU’s Dr Miranda Forsyth

The Australian criminal justice system has come under criticism for incarcerating growing numbers of people. With recidivism rates closing in on fifty percent – meaning nearly half of those released from prison are back within 2 years – many believe a punitive system that produces “revolving door” criminals can’t be the answer.

But, there are alternatives.

Restorative justice is an approach to dealing with crime that has a focus on rehabilitating the offender through reconciliation with the victim, and other family members and friends. The practice gives the victim a voice in the justice process, which empowers them, as well as providing the offender with an understanding of the impact of their actions and a direct avenue to make amends.

Read more here.

Restorative policing:expert criminologists in conversation

RegNet's Restorative Policing discussion (held 6 June 2017) is available to listen or download.

ACT Chief Police Officer, Justine Saunders, and expert criminologists Larry Sherman and Heather Strang from Cambridge University were scheduled to participate in this panel discussion. However, CPO Saunders was made unavailable at late notice.

The discussion was to be facilitated by RegNet’s John Braithwaite, but due to his ill health Miranda Forsyth stepped in for John.

Sherman and Strang debated the positives and negatives of restorative justice from the perspective of the police, the victims and the offenders, and discuss the latest programs for reducing re-offending in Australia as well as in the Northern hemisphere. The panel was also be open to questions from the audience.

Read more here and download audio file here.

A Canberra restorative community

We seem to know more but understand less about the human condition.

We could move from an impulse to exclude and brand people, or engage in human outreach, improving ourselves and the emotional life of others.

These are just some of the big questions universities need to help answer, according to retired US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich.

These are also some of the themes the Canberra Restorative Community network has engaged with since July 2015.

Read more here.

Restorative Community Network Gathering 28/6/2017

Dear Restorative Community Network members,

Please join RJ champions John Braithwaite, Jon Stanhope, Tony Foley (Chair Law Reform Advisory Committee), Cheryl Condon, Kate Milner, Dymphna Lowry (Cth Ombudsman), Shawn van der Linden (CEO, Conflict Resolution Service), Dennis McDermott, Amanda Lutz (manager, RJU) and others at the:

‘Restorative Community Network Gathering’
Wed 28th June 2017, 12.15-1.45 pm,
Venue: Riley Hall, Pilgrim House
69 Northbourne Ave

Topic: “Where to from here: Next Steps for our Restorative Community”

Since July 2015, we’ve held a series of workshops across issues such as education, disability, health, crime and justice, ageing and sexual offending.   

These workshops have inspired innovative and exciting developments such as ‘Restorative ANU’, a collective aimed at improving responses for victims of sexual assault on campus, the Canberra restorative hospital, and the introduction of the ‘Peace Education Program’ at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

This meeting will focus us on discussing the benefits of the RCN work and vital questions for the future of this grass roots movement, such as ‘What do we need for the network to continue?’  and ‘How would we like to work into the future?’  Here’s your chance to be involved!

The agenda attached outlines some discussion points for the continuation of the network.  Please have a look and bring your ideas and energy on the day or, if you can’t make it, feel free to email us your suggestions to share.

Please email by 22 June 2017.  Light refreshments will be provided.


•    The RCN has operated under the auspices of the ACT Government and the ANU RJ Centre, with strong support from the ACT Restorative Justice Unit.
•    The ANU RJ Centre provided start-up funds for a website and annual payment of webhosting.
•    Resources are now stretched and we need to pitch together to consider ways forward.

Agenda/Discussion items:
1.    How has RCN been impacting so far?  (20 mins of feedback/good news stories)
2.    Is there a need for a collective representative body to maintain oversight and momentum of the RCN, and if so what structure would be best.
3.    Is there a need for a government funded position (such as Restorative Engagement Officer) to support the RCN and if so where would this person would best be located.  Identify the roles for this officer, including:

  •  Consult and plan and coordinate workshops/events
  •  Provide secretariat support
  •  Liaise with rotating host agencies
  •  Report on activities and outcomes of RCN

4.    Identify potential funding sources
5.    How to share the organizing of workshops/ events until funding sourced
6.    Café catch-ups for informal restorative conversation opportunities
7.    Close

Download the pdf of the above invitation to print or share [470 KB].