The Central Victorian Restorative Practice Alliance (CVRPA) is a collaborative partnership of individuals and organisations with a shared passion for Restorative Practice.
We live and work in Victoria’s Central Goldfields region, with its regional centre of Bendigo, 150 kilometres north of Melbourne, and with a population of 100 000. There is a cluster of smaller towns around Bendigo, and the total population of the region is roughly 250 000. This represents nearly 15% of Victoria’s regional population.
Restorative Practice enables all people who have been impacted by a conflict to meet to talk about what has happened and hear how people have been impacted. It’s a voluntary process where all parties have the opportunity to meet face to face to cooperatively decide what can be done to provide restitution and prevent any further harm.
The process allows for reflection, learning and the opportunity of understanding to take place, to repair harm and restore relationships where possible. We have seen the positive social change that is possible when restorative practice is applied in neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces and communities.
The idea of forming an Alliance arose from collegial conversations in Bendigo between Katrina Robinson and Sandra Hamilton in 2008. Katrina had been employed by CentaCare (now CatholicCare Sandhurst) Bendigo as the sole convenor in the region for the newly legislated Victorian Youth Justice Group Conferencing program. Sandra was newly appointed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in 2008 as Senior Project Officer in Restorative Practices. Sandra and Katrina were tasked respectively with introducing and promoting restorative practices in education and justice across the region.
Since the inauguration of the Alliance in 2009, we have valued the contribution of each of our past and present partner organisations:
- CatholicCare Sandhurst
- Department of Education Early Childhood Development
- Goldfields Local Learning and Employment Network
- Central Goldfields Shire, Maryborough Neighbourhood Renewal
- Victoria Police
- DOXA School, Bendigo
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
- Bendigo Community Health Services
- City of Greater Bendigo Council
- Department of Justice, Loddon Mallee Dispute Settlement Centre
- Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative
- St. Luke’s
- Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre
In 2016 the Alliance expanded its membership criteria to also include those interested in restorative practices, either as practitioners, advocates or interested parties, including individuals and organisations.
The Alliance meets to work together to:
- Promote ‘best practice’ in restorative practices in the local area
- Develop partnerships and links between restorative practice practitioners
- Develop a community model of restorative practice in the local area
- Identify trends, issues and service gaps across each of the practice areas
- Explore the application of restorative practice in various settings with different cultural groups
- Share resourcing and ensure continuity of individual and organisational membership
- Provide peer support as required in the Victorian Association of Restorative Justice (VARJ) accreditation process.