Earlier this week I visited Kambah Pool, one of the ACT’s great recreational spaces, to see how a group of young people have taken responsibility for the vandalism that they caused in July 2011. The young people had the opportunity to see the error of their ways and make amends through the ACT Labor Government’s restorative justice program.
In July 2011, seven young people used hand tools and a chainsaw to cut down trees and damage park furniture at Kambah Pool and Tharwa Sandwash. The offenders, their parents , police and park rangers were given an opportunity to address the impact of their vandalism through the restorative justice program and as result the young people agreed to assemble new picnic tables, collect rubbish and plant new trees under the guidance of park rangers. They also made a financial donation to the National Parks Association.
This shows how restorative justice can ensure young people truly face up to the consequences of their actions and make amends for the harm they have caused others and the broader community.
The restorative justice unit has been in operation since 2005 and has seen 1220 referrals involving 2900 offences, 1500 young offenders and 2170 victims.
Congratulations to the team at restorative justice unit and the difference they are making in reducing repeat offending and helping young people face up to the consequences of their actions in a practical and meaningful way.