Three projects selected as national winners in the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards 2005 and winning Certificates of Merit and $10,000 prizes are:
1) CIRCLE SENTENCING – Nowra, New South Wales
2) OPERATION BURGLARY COUNTDOWN – Western Australia
3) KOORI COURT – Shepparton, Victoria
1)CIRCLE SENTENCING – Nowra, New South Wales
The program may be described as an alternate sentencing court for adult Aboriginal offenders. Rather than a Magistrate sitting alone, respected members of the Aboriginal community, who have a close association or kinship with the offender, sit in a circle to discuss the underlying causes of the offender’s behaviour in a community setting. Offenders who participate in the program must discuss the circumstances surrounding the offences they have committed. Victims are invited to participate in the process but their involvement is not mandatory. As with a standard sentencing, court legal representation for the offender remains as do police prosecutor and other agencies relevant to the sentencing process.
2)OPERATION BURGLARY COUNTDOWN – Western Australia
A burglary reduction pilot project which was conducted in two hotspot locations for 12 months. The objectives were to reduce the incidence of burglary and repeat burglary overall in the pilot sites, improve the response to burglary by State and Local Government and the community, improve community understanding of burglary and the importance of accurate and timely reporting of crime to Police. It was based on a multi-agency partnership approach to crime prevention and specifically seeks to make a greater impact on a wider community which is done through a series of processes aimed at reducing the offenders’ confidence in conducting a successful burglary, making the crime more difficult to commit and making apprehension and conviction more likely.
3)KOORI COURT – Shepparton, Victoria
The Koori Court operates as a special sentencing court within a Magistrates Court to create an informal atmosphere and allow greater participation by the Koori Community through the Koori Elder and Respected Person, the Aboriginal Justice Worker, Koori offenders and their families. It aims to reduce perceptions of cultural alienation and tailor sentences to the cultural needs of Koori offenders and operates by encouraging as many service providers as possible, as well as members of both the Koori and wider community to be involved in both the sentencing process and support assistance programs. The court identifies the causal issues facing an offender and includes the offender in that identification. It encourages the offenders to take ownership of their underlying difficulties and work in partnership with the relevant service providers to address the issues concerned.