Momentous week for victims of crime as Govt to act on Restorative Justice

3 May 2013

Momentous week for victims of crime as Govt to act on Restorative Justice

 

Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Martin Conway, has said it has been a momentous week for victims of crime following the Government’s commitment to act on a Private Members Motion tabled by him and supported by all Parties in the Seanad.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend my Seanad colleagues for supporting this ground-breaking Private Members Motion on the question of the rights of victims of crime and restorative justice. It calls on the Government to support the Minister for Justice in the development and extension of restorative justice, which focuses on victims taking an active role in the justice process and encourages offenders to take responsibility for their actions, to the greatest possible extent. This would make a nationwide, non-custodial option available to the criminal justice system.

“The Motion also calls on the Government to commit to the implementation of EU Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and Council of 25th October 2012 which establishes minimum standards on the rights, supports and the protection of victims of crime.

“I am greatly encouraged by the fact that the Government is taking cognisance of the issues highlighted in the Motion. Minister Shatter has committed to further developing and expanding the restorative process throughout the State and has already instructed officials to begin preparatory work with a view to transposing the Directive on victims of crime into Irish law

 

“I consider that restorative justice is an invaluable and cost effective non-custodial option for the criminal justice system in responding to and combatting crime in Irish society.  It is a victim-sensitive response to criminal offending, which through engagement with those affected by a crime, aims to make amends for the harm that has been caused to victims and communities. It also facilitates offender rehabilitation and integration into society.

“Thanks to the contents of this Seanad Motion, and the subsequent commitments received from Minister Shatter, I believe there is reason to be hopeful for the years ahead for the victims of crime in Ireland.”

 

The Motion

 

That Seanad Eireann:

acknowledges the Government’s commitment to  further develop and expand the restorative justice process throughout the State;

reiterates the rights of victims of crime to receive appropriate information, support and protection and to participate in criminal proceedings where appropriate;

acknowledges and affirms the work of the National Commission on Restorative Justice;

notes that the Probation Service, in partnership with community based organisations, is engaged in the promotion, development and delivery of restorative justice initiatives and that the extension  of restorative justice programmes is a strategic priority for the Probation Service;

recognises the experience and positive outcomes associated with the application of restorative justice in Northern Ireland;

recognises the work of the Nenagh Community Reparation Project, the Restorative Justice Service and Le Chéile Restorative Justice Project in the provision of restorative justice pilot programmes in their respective areas;

 

and calls on the Government; 

 

to; 

1. support the Minister for Justice  in the development and extension of restorative justice to the greatest possible extent, as a nationwide non-custodial option available to the criminal justice system;

 

2. to commit to the implementation of EU Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and Council of 25th October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, supports and protection of victims of crime.

 

Senators Martin Conway, Maurice Cummins, Paul Coghlan, Paul Bradford, Colm Burke, Deirdre Clune, Eamonn Coghlan, Michael Comiskey,, Jim D’Arcy, Michael Darcy, Fidelma Healy Eames, Imelda Henry, Cait Keane, Tony Mulcahy, Michael Mullins, Catherine Noone, Pat O’Neill, Tom Sheahan, Terry Brennan.