Working towards a Restorative Peer Process
Restorative justice addresses the harm of wrongdoing and initiates the repair and building of people and relationships. The Bidi Koorliny Aboriginal Corporation was awarded a Social Justice Small Grant to fund the first stage of setting up the Bidi Warkoolin (Right Way Forward) Restorative Peer Process.
The project stems from the Journeys Way project, an in-prison restorative rehabilitation program that uses restorative justice principles and pan-Aboriginal values to assist Noongar prisoners. That program involves Aboriginal facilitators and Elders who are connected to local Aboriginal communities.
Restorative justice aims to address the harm of crime and wrongdoing through the repair of people and relationships. This approach to justice is adapted within a framework of Aboriginal values and customs. The program emphasises the importance of repairing Country, family and respect.
The Bidi Warkoolin project provided the groundwork needed to establish a community- based restorative peer process. The project aimed to empower Noongar people living in a regional town to become more involved in how to provide justice and care in their community. It sought to promote grassroots responsibility for addressing damage and restoring lives and relationships.
Five structured Yarning Circles, led by an Aboriginal Elder, discussed:
- Aboriginal Lore
- Aboriginal Justice Today
- Community Centred Justice
- Peer Workers
- Developing the Project.
The Yarning Circles were well attended by members of the community who were engaged and keen to contribute to the discussion. The project participants agreed that the Bidi Warkoolin Restorative Peer Process was a success and next steps are to develop a more detailed plan to deliver the process.