Chapter 7
The case for an alternative justice mechanism

Is there a public interest factor in an alternative justice mechanism?

7.70In proposing an alternative justice mechanism we are aware of the need to also balance concerns about protecting the public interest (one of the functions of the criminal justice system) while providing an alternative process to better address the needs of victims. As Daly writes:550

Finding the right balance between censuring wrongs, validating and vindicating victims, protecting society, and providing support and services for offenders and victims in a democratic society that is committed to the rule of law and due process for citizens is a significant and far-reaching task. It requires imaginative and innovative ways of thinking about justice beyond the standard approaches of prosecution and trial, or of increasing punishment.

7.71Any proposal for an alternative justice mechanism that sits outside the criminal justice system must be established in such a way that the public can have confidence in it, that the public interest is protected, and that there are statutory protections relating to the rights and obligations of those participating in the alternative process (for example related to confidentiality, privilege, and double jeopardy). It must meet certain quality standards and be subject to oversight and monitoring.

7.72Chapter 8 turns to address these factors before Chapter 9 outlines our proposal for an alternative process.

550Kathleen Daly Conventional and innovative justice responses to sexual violence (Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Issues Paper 12, 2011) at 27.