- About the Family Violence Restorative Justice Service
- About family violence
- Benefits of a restorative process
- Victim safety
- Expertise and experience of our practitioners
- Participating in a restorative process
On this page
About the Family Violence Restorative Justice Service
The Family Violence Restorative Justice (FVRJ) Service supports those that have been harmed by family violence. This is an option in the Victim-Centred Restorative Justice Program specific to family violence needs.
If you are a survivor of family violence, our practitioners can help you communicate about the harms you have experienced to:
- feel heard
- have your experiences validated
- expand the supports around you.
We recognise that family violence can affect anybody. We are committed to helping people of all gender identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions and abilities. This includes transgender and gender diverse people of all presentations, as well as cisgender men and women.
The FVRJ Service only accepts referrals by or on behalf of victim survivors of family violence.
About family violence
Family violence is any behaviour that makes someone feel scared and fear for their safety or wellbeing. It can be physical or non-physical. Family violence can happen in many different personal or family relationships, such as:
- in a de-facto relationship, civil union or marriage
- between boyfriends, girlfriends or partners
- between family members - parents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents
- between a person with disability, their relatives and/or their carer
- between an older person, their relatives and/or their carer
- between people in a 'family-like' relationship (e.g. family of choice), according to traditions or social practices.
There are lots of ways a family member, partner or ex-partner can be abusive, violent or controlling, not just physical.
Benefits of a restorative process
A restorative process is a narrative process that gives you a chance to tell your story to the people you want to in a way that is meaningful to you. This can be helpful if you have felt disempowered, unheard or overlooked during your family violence or legal journey.
Victim-centred restorative justice can help you address your justice needs, including:
- Voice – to talk about the impact of the harm in your own way.
- Validation – to have your experience recognised in a meaningful way.
- Information – to have questions answered.
- Accountability – so the person responsible knows how their actions affected you and takes responsibility for them.
- Relationships – to address outstanding issues, restore relationships or cease them.
- Prevention – to know you’ve done something to try and stop it happening again.
- Resolution – just needing to do this.
Some restorative processes may also result in actions and outcomes that help you move forward.
Safety is our primary focus. Our staff work closely with you to get you ready for the restorative process. This includes managing safety if there are any risks of:
- further family violence
- coercion, or
When it comes to getting the person responsible for harm ready for a restorative process, our staff will need to assess any risks. They will need to show that they take responsibility for the harm they have caused. If we are worried about their ability to safely take part in a restorative process, we will talk to you about our concerns and think about the best way forward.
Our work is underpinned by key principles and a safeguard framework to be safe and effective for participants.
Expertise and experience of our practitioners
Our staff have diverse backgrounds in restorative practice, social work, psychology and family violence. They have received extensive training in:
- family violence risk assessment
- trauma-informed care and practice
- cultural safety
- restorative practice
Staff undertake training on a regular basis to ensure current best practice.
Participating in a restorative process
Our staff meet with you to thoroughly prepare you to engage in a restorative process. You will be provided with a clear explanation of what will take place leading up to, during, and after the completion of the restorative process.
Someone will work with you throughout your time with us to:
- understand your story
- identify your goals and needs
- help you get ready for the restorative process
- convene the restorative process so it is safe and can meet your needs
- support you during the restorative process
- check in with you afterwards
- help you with any follow up.
Participation is voluntary
Your participation in a restorative process is voluntary. You can choose to stop or pause your involvement at any time.
If you would like a particular person to be involved in your restorative process and that person says no, we will talk with you about this and see if there are other people to include or ways your needs can be met.
This is a free service.
Preparing for a restorative process can take weeks or months, depending on the goals of the victim and readiness of all participants.
The restorative group conference itself may take approximately two hours. An indirect restorative process, like writing a letter, may take more or less time, depending on the method.
After the restorative process
Shortly after a restorative process, our staff will spend time with you reflecting on what was said and how you are feeling. In the weeks after, practitioners will check in with you to see how you are going and find out if you have any questions or things that are unresolved.
If the restorative process includes outcomes or action plans, we will check in with the person(s) responsible for these tasks to make sure they are being completed.
The time it takes for you and others to be ready for a restorative process, facilitate the process, and provide follow-up afterwards will vary depending on your needs and circumstances. There is no time limit to how long we can work with you.
Interaction with the person who caused harm
Because we use a victim-centred model, we work with you to:
- plan what you want to say
- how you want to say it
- who you would like to say it to.
This might involve talking with the person who has harmed you. It might also involve talking with:
- other family members
- close friends, or
- a representative from an organisation, institution or community.
In some cases, it might not be safe to talk to the person responsible or we might need to consider process options that better suit your goals.
If you want to speak with the person who has harmed you, there are two important things to think about:
- Will it be safe?
- Will they agree to take part?
Our staff will work with you to figure this out and discuss options.
Using other services while engaged with the FVRJ service
The option to engage in a restorative process is one of a suite of service options available to you. You can work with us at the same time as engaging with any other support services and/or therapeutic interventions. In some cases, it might be useful to sequence these services to get the most out of them and make sure you feel ready for restorative justice.
Make an enquiry
If you are in danger, please call 000.
If you need crisis support, contact Safe Steps (External link) on 1800 015 188 or the Victims of Crime Helpline (External link) on 1800 819 817.