Proposal for reform
9.46As noted in Chapter 7, the “Restorative justice standards for sexual offending cases” prepared by the Ministry of Justice list the principles which guide how restorative justice should be used in cases of sexual violence, and how providers should design and deliver the restorative justice service itself, including the need for a case management approach, consideration of timing and pacing, and the role of support people. The standards of service and delivery of programmes are covered by each provider’s contract with the Ministry of Justice, rather than the programmes and providers being assessed and accredited (although as noted below, facilitators are accredited).
9.47However, there is not any accreditation or assessment process relating to the safety and effectiveness of programmes. We do not wish to imply from this that processes being delivered by providers currently are not safe, yet in the context of new programmes being developed as part of the alternative process, it is imperative, in our view, that programmes are assessed as appropriate, safe and effective before they can be delivered.
9.48All the programmes we are aware of that have been applied in cases of sexual violence, such as RESTORE (Responsibility and Equity for Sexual Transgressions Offering a Restorative Experience) Arizona, Project Restore, and the Australian SECASA pilot, have been based on research and developed over a long period of time. New programmes should be required to prove that they too are sound and evidence-based.
9.49Therefore, in order for the public and those participating in the alternative process to be assured that the process consists of safe programmes that work, we recommend that a rigorous accreditation framework be developed which includes the key values and components required for safe and effective programmes. This framework should be developed with input from the sexual violence sector and programmes (and the providers who design and deliver them) must meet the standards of, and be assessed in accordance with, an accreditation framework. The framework could expand upon the existing Ministry of Justice standards or a new framework could be developed with those standards as the starting point.
9.50The accreditation framework would need to be flexible enough to cover any programme approach or model that complied with the standards of the framework. The RESPECT Accreditation Standard, developed in the United Kingdom (RESPECT Standard) is a model used to accredit domestic violence prevention programmes and is an example of an accreditation framework that encompasses practice standards, programme design and delivery, and which we believe could be drawn on in establishing an accreditation framework for the alternative process.
9.51Under the RESPECT Standard, organisations seeking accreditation must have a “written model of work which includes the content and structure of the work with clients, theory underpinning [it] and the methods of delivery”. Any model of work can be chosen providing it adheres to the aims of a RESPECT accredited service. Experience in the United Kingdom has shown that the RESPECT Standard “provides a strong framework in which different approaches and models can be and are used safely and effectively”.
9.52Utilising such an approach would ensure that programmes meet certain standards and incorporate key values in their design, yet have the flexibility to respond to the specific needs of different demographic groups – this could be for Māori, other ethnicities, youth, those with disabilities, etc.
9.53We recommend that, once accredited, programmes are then audited on a regular basis (perhaps twice a year).
- R38 A rigorous accreditation framework should be developed against which programmes can be assessed and which incorporates the key values and components described in paragraphs 9.32 to 9.45 of this Report, yet which is sufficiently flexible to allow the development of creative, safe, effective, and robust programmes.
- R39 The new statute (see R 37) should include a definition of “completion of a programme”, which should include the perpetrator fulfilling all “conditions” agreed to in an outcome agreement but should exclude any “undertakings” made by the perpetrator.
- R40 The programmes should be audited on a regular basis (perhaps twice a year).