Home » Africause Restorative Justice Project Provides Culturally Appropriate Solutions for African Australian Communities

Africause Restorative Justice Project Provides Culturally Appropriate Solutions for African Australian Communities

by  Africa Media Australia

In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at addressing the challenges faced by African Australian communities in Victoria, the Africause Restorative Justice Scoping Project, also known as the Community Restorative Justice (CRJ), is forging a path towards a more inclusive and effective criminal justice system. Spearheaded by Africause, a community organisation led by Dr Berhan Ahmed in Melbourne,  in collaboration with the Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) at RMIT University. This project is set to revolutionise the way justice is approached, particularly concerning youths and adults caught in the criminal justice cycle.

The overarching goal of the CRJ project is to identify and implement a culturally appropriate and safe model of restorative justice tailored specifically to the needs of African Australian communities. With a focus on understanding the experiences, challenges, and aspirations of these communities, the project aims to break the cycle of harm and provide meaningful support for both victims and offenders.


Africause CRJ team meeting Melbourne (Photo Linked- Berhan Ahmed)


The project unfolds in three pivotal stages. It enables the community engagement in the area of justice by engaging with the community to comprehend the issues at hand and gather invaluable insights and suggestions for potential solutions. By listening to the voices of those directly affected, the project lays a solid foundation for meaningful change.

Additionally, by building upon the input received from the community, the project team will develop a comprehensive response that prioritises cultural sensitivity, safety, and effectiveness. This response is also expected to encompass recommendations for restorative interventions that aim to address the needs of both victims and offenders, fostering healing and reconciliation.


Last, but not least, the community Testing and Implementation. In the final stage, the proposed response will be presented to the community for feedback, support, and potential funding for implementation. Through collaborative efforts and community involvement, the project seeks to ensure that the restorative justice model developed is not only responsive to the unique challenges faced by African Australian communities but also enjoys widespread support and engagement.

Central to the CRJ project is the utilisation of restorative justice processes, which facilitate dialogue and collaboration among those affected by harm. Examples include victim-offender conferences, group conferences involving broader affected groups, peacemaking circles, and diversionary restorative programs. By harnessing the power of restorative justice principles, the project aims to foster healing, accountability, and community cohesion.


The Africause  project has facilitated roundtable discussions with various community groups to gather direct input and insights. Participants, selected for their significance in the community and knowledge of community issues, have been invited to share their experiences and perspectives. These discussions, facilitated by the CIJ, serve as a crucial platform for ensuring that the restorative justice model developed is truly reflective of the needs and aspirations of African Australian communities.

Africause hopes that the CRJ project provides hope for a more just and equitable future for African communities. By empowering communities and embracing restorative approaches, this platform believes that they have the opportunity to break the cycle of harm and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow for African-Australian children and youth.

In a time where the stakes are high and the challenges are daunting, the Africause Restorative Justice Project shines as a testament to the power of collaboration, compassion, and innovation in the pursuit of justice and healing. It is indeed time to save our children and youth from the vicious cycle of the criminal justice system. The time for change is now.

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