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Restorative justice is a reorientation of how one thinks about crime and justice and a shift in focus from punitive to reparative justice , however it is a paradigm, which cannot be consensually defined . It is collectively made up of various theories posited through restorative justice scholars. Although a consensual definition is difficult to imply, a panel of restorative justice scholars working under the Delphi method of research have accepted Marshall's definition as representing the core values and theories of restorative justice:

"Restorative justice is a process whereby all parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future"

Van Ness also suggests that the foundations of restorative justice lay on the following principles :

· Crime is primarily conflict between the individuals, which results in injury to victims, communities and offenders.

· The paramount aim of the criminal justice system should be reconciliation between parties while repairing any injury caused by the crime.

· The criminal justice process should facilitate active participation by victims, communities and offenders. It should not be subject to exclusive control by the government.

Restorative justice programs in Australia, resting on these principles, are

predominantly based upon on the Family Group Conferencing model developed in New Zealand . Conferencing schemes in Australia aim to divert offenders away from the mainstream criminal justice system by "[providing] a forum for those most affected by the offence, rather than the state, to resolve the conflict" .

Although the development of Australian conferencing schemes were greatly influenced by the New Zealand, Family Group Conferences, each jurisdiction has emerged to encompass many contrasts within comparisons of each model. These variations are the result of state legislation and the operation of the...