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Group urges help for victims

Matilda Simmons
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

THE Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding (PCP) has called for the Restorative Justice principles to be incorporated in the proposed Community Based Corrections Bill.

Presenting before the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights, PCP executive director Florence Swamy said the Community Based Corrections Bill lacked focus on the victims.

"Any community based bill should focus on healing, and focus on the victim," said Ms Swamy.

The Community Based Corrections Bill 2016 is a review of the Probation of Offenders Act of 1952. It offers the courts in Fiji an alternative community based sentencing for the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.

Swamy said she hoped the processes of restorative justice would make a difference in the Bill.

"While the Bill talks about those offenders who the court may think should not go to jail but have a community based rehab, we think that restorative justice processes also play a part because that offender should acknowledge the harm that he/she has done and the victim must feel that he/she is also being addressed in this process and the harm is being acknowledged and addressed," Swamy said

"The current Yellow Ribbon and other projects focus on the rehabilitation of the offender, when he or she is eventually released back into the community. Our focus is on the attention that's paid to the victim and the processes that both the victim and the offender go through to prepare them for the eventual release of the offender."

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