Churches and law enforcement agencies are working together with communities to promote restorative justice.
Restorative justice responds to criminal behaviour by balancing the needs of the community, the victims and the offenders. Communities are given training to develop their own restorative justice capacity, with offenders encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and make amends.
Workshop facilitator, Gini Kevin who manages the restorative justice and awareness program at The Salvation Army, believes that social injustice and lawlessness rates in Papua New Guinea can be minimised using a restorative justice approach.
“Justice can only prevail if community leaders have access to law and justice information and are able to work in partnership with churches and key law enforcement agencies to address the social issues that lead to lawlessness,” Mr Kevin said.
“Restorative justice is important for the families of both victims and offenders as issues between parties can go unresolved for years, leading to violence and retribution,” he said.
By using a community-mediated solution, family members are able to start the process of reconciliation and compensation.
More than 30 church and law enforcement representatives attended a workshop in Kokopo, East New Britain Province from 9-13 April to discuss restorative justice opportunities. Topics included human rights, victim referral pathways, legislation, human trafficking, community policing and prisoner reintegration.
The workshop was facilitated by The Salvation Army and involved presentations from the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council's Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, Magisterial Services, Department of Justice and Attorney General, Correctional Services and the International Organization for Migration.
The Restorative Justice and Awareness Program is supported by the Australian Government through the Church Partnership Program, as part of the Papua New Guinea-Australia Decentralisation and Service Delivery Partnership. The program aims to support the seven mainline churches to build peace and prosperity in Papua New Guinea.
For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100
The participants representing various churches and law enforcement agencies.