Research + Projects

Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into Improving the Response of the Justice System to Sexual Offences

The CIJ’s submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission advocates for the use of victim/survivor focused restorative justice processes in response to sexual harm.

Source: lawreform.vic.gov.au

Victim/survivors seek a response to the harm they have experienced that allows them to feel that justice has been done. Some have a strong need to tell their story, in a forum where they are believed and supported. Some want to engage directly with the person responsible for the harm, to express how they have been affected, and see the person responsible acknowledge the wrongfulness of their actions. Others want the opportunity to meet with members of their own family, in cases where they were not been believed or supported when they disclosed the harm to family members.

Having a criminal prosecution in response to the harm they have experienced is very important to some victim/survivors, and those who feel this way must be supported and encouraged to pursue this avenue. However, the vast majority of victim/survivors do not report the harm to police. Of the cases that are reported, few result in a conviction of the person responsible. Other options for addressing the harm need to be available to victim/survivors, in addition to the criminal justice system.

The CIJ advocates for restorative justice processes that respond to sexual harm that are focused on the needs of victim/survivors. These processes must be ones in which victim/survivors can exercise agency, and which are responsive to them as individual people. The processes must be delivered in ways that recognise the power dynamics inherent in sexual offences, and that avoid replicating harmful myths and misconceptions about sexual violence.

Read our submission in response to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Issues Paper G Sexual Offences: Restorative and Alternative Justice Models below.

Key People

Nareeda Lewers

Nareeda Lewers

Restorative Justice Manager/Convener

Nareeda is an experienced lawyer who has represented highly vulnerable and marginalised people.

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Anna Howard

Anna Howard

Restorative Justice Manager/Convener

Anna is an experienced lawyer who has practised as a social justice lawyer in community legal centres and native title representation bodies for more than a decade.

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Stan Winford

Stan Winford

Associate Director of Research, Innovation & Reform

Stan is a legal and justice system expert with experience in innovation and reform, including user centred design and applications for restorative and therapeutic justice in criminal and civil law.

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Michael Haralambous

Michael Haralambous

Senior Adviser, Research and Advocacy

Michael is a criminal solicitor who has worked with Victoria Legal Aid and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

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The CIJ’s submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission advocates for the use of victim/survivor focused restorative justice processes in response to sexual harm.

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Renee Handsaker

Renee Handsaker

Principal Restorative Justice Convener

Renee is a highly skilled facilitator specialising in restorative conferencing, conflict transformation and debriefing following traumatic incidents.

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Rob Hulls

Rob Hulls

Director

Rob first attended RMIT as a law student, where he graduated in 1982. 30 years later, in October 2012, Rob returned to the University to set up the Centre for Innovative Justice as a place to develop, drive, and expand the capacity of the justice system to meet and adapt to the needs of its diverse users.

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