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The Impact Statement Podcast - Dr Jane Bolitho

The Impact Statement Podcast - Dr Jane Bolitho

Yellow Image card - The Impact Statement with Dr Jane Bolitho

In this episode, Petrina is joined by Dr Jane Bolitho, of the Diana Unwin Chair of Restorative Justice at the Te Nāpara Centre, Victoria University of Wellington to discuss restorative justice.

Welcome to The Impact Statement, where we bring victims' issues into the public spotlight and challenge narratives around victims and victimisation. Most of us never think of victim support or what it's like to be a victim unless we are affected by crime or trauma ourselves. But anyone can find themselves a victim, and the impact of victimisation is far-reaching.

I'm Petrina Hargrave, and I'm going to share with you the stories, research, and people that are making an impact in the lives of everyday New Zealanders affected by crime, trauma, and suicide.

It's used in situations from schoolyard fights to medical misadventure to all manner of crimes. Restorative justice. It's a mechanism for bringing together the victim, or person who's been harmed, with the offender, or person who has caused the harm. And it can have powerful impacts on both parties that aren't always possible in the courtroom.

To explore restorative justice and its benefits, I'm joined today by Dr. Jane Baletho,the Diana Unwin Chair of Restorative Justice at the Te Nāpara Centre, Victoria University of Wellington.

Petrina: Thank you for joining me, Jane, and welcome to the Impact Statement. So Jane, restorative justice is a term that I think a lot of people might have heard of. Often they hear about it in the news. It's bandied around quite a lot these days, but I get the sense that few people actually really understand what restorative justice is. So can you just give us a brief of restorative justice 101?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Sure. So restorative justice is a mechanism for addressing harm. It generally refers to a facilitated conversation between somebody responsible for harm and somebody affected by harm and their support persons. There is confusion in the field about what restorative justice is because it is now, you know, it's kind of really developed and flourished since the 1970s in the Western world and there are so many versions of it. And in fact, we've referred to the restorative justice social movement and that kind of sits on top as reflecting all of the things that we do using a restorative philosophy.

And kind of, you know, maybe about five years ago, people started recognising that restorative justice, the principles and practices could be applied in so many areas outside of the justice system. So in workplaces, in schools, and even in health. So we started to see the emergence of the phrase restorative practice. Restorative practice refers to everything.

Petrina: Right. I was wondering. Yes, because I have heard about it being used in schools, which is fantastic. And so the restorative philosophy, what exactly is that?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, so restorative, if you understand restorative justice as a philosophy and a practice, the philosophy rests on a set of core principles. The core principles are slightly debated, but generally refer to participation, inclusivity, dialogue, accountability and truth telling and the building of relationships and repair. Yeah. So wanting to repair harms through dialogue rather than...

Petrina: That's exactly what victims are telling us is missing in the criminal justice system generally. You know, that they don't feel included, they don't have a voice, that they feel that their harm is not being repaired. So I can see that there are infinite possibilities for victims with restorative justice.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Absolutely. So if we think about the impetus for restorative justice, certainly the victims' rights movement, you know, in the 1970s onwards, which was about giving victims more voice, about the fact that victims are largely cut out of the legal process and that the state intervenes on their behalf to take matters forward, which means that often when a victim might want information about what happened, or they want to understand why it happened, or they want to talk about the impact, that opportunity is not afforded through the legal system.

And so other avenues were scoped out, and restorative justice is this enabling mechanism that now sits alongside all within the criminal justice system as a space for that, for victims to have voice.

Petrina: So how does it actually work? Like, say I am victimised by a crime, and my case goes to court, and there's an offender, and I feel like I want to speak to this offender, because I want to find out why they did this to me, and I want to get some answers, you know. Would that be something that restorative justice could help with, and how would I go about that as a victim?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, it varies a great deal by where you happen to live, and in what country you live, and sometimes we talk about justice by geography in the fact that, you know, if you happen to live in a jurisdiction where restorative justice legislation exists, then yeah, as a victim you might have an avenue into restorative justice, and certainly in New Zealand and Aotearoa that exists.

But in many other places in the world and in lots of different scenarios that's not the case. Here in New Zealand, if you are the victim of a crime, so a crime being something that's reported and recorded by police, and the matter gets taken forward to court, and somebody either admits guilt or kind of acknowledges that something happened, then a magistrate or judge can kind of pause sentencing for you to be referred to restorative justice.

What the restorative justice process is, there's a restorative justice facilitator, and they are trained and experienced in some countries, accredited, certain standards exist, and they will talk to you about why you'd want to have this dialogue, and what you might be looking for, and then they will talk to the person responsible, and they'll consider whether it's a good match, and then, so there's preparation involved, and then there's a facilitated meeting.

It can be one meeting, it can be two meetings, it varies a little bit by the service, and then there can be debriefing as well afterwards. The actual meeting itself can last anywhere from 20 minutes to many hours, even days, and you, as the victim, you are invited to bring support persons, and depending on exactly what crime has occurred, you might bring specialists to support people, particularly if it's a violent crime or sexual assault.

There's lots of opportunities to have breaks, it's entirely voluntary, it's consensual, you know, there are a set of kind of questions or prompts that are worked through about what happened, and then the impact, and the way forward.

Petrina: And you yourself are a facilitator, aren't you, for restorative justice?

Dr Jane Bolitho: I, yeah, I have, I've trained, I trained as a restorative justice youth convener in Australia, practiced for a very short amount of time, and it was interesting, it came off the back of a long research study that we did, which was in and out of prisons in New South Wales, and it was, the study went for about five years, and we were in victim-survivor homes and in prisons, and when I went back to academia, I found it quite bland, and I really kind of struggled to come out of that study and find meaning in the research work that I was doing. So I thought, right, okay, I actually want to do this work, I want to be at the coalface, and went back and trained. But facilitated, you know, one or two cases, and you know, there's so much complexity to being a facilitator, and I realised that actually, it probably was not where my strengths lay, and ended up back in research.

Petrina: So what drew you to that area in the first place, restorative practice?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, I mean, I started life as a psychologist, and was kind of mentored by a particular academic who was a criminologist by chance, and she was doing a lot of work on abolitionist criminology, so getting rid of prisms, and a lot of police work, and youth justice work, and I kind of just started research assistency with her on various projects, including kind of going to police stations and talking to young people and victims and families.

And then kind of fell into one of her research projects, which was about the Young Offenders Act and youth conferencing, and ended up doing my PhD, which was an observation of 85 youth justice conferences. And from that started, I was quite interested in RJ, restorative justice, as a justice mechanism, but, you know, was also looking at other justice mechanisms as well, like drug courts, and early referral into treatment programs.

It wasn't until we did the prison study that I started, I kind of turned a corner and thought, yeah, restorative justice has so much depth to it, there's so much to understand about why it works, that I really started focusing on that, and hence coming over to New Zealand, which has given me the capacity to really focus on that exclusively.

Petrina: So you say why it works, there is quite a lot of research, isn't there? A lot of research about restorative justice and its benefits for both offenders and victims. So can you summarise some of those key benefits, particularly, yeah, for both, for both parties?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, absolutely. There's a multitude of studies and a lot of empirical evidence about whether restorative justice works. The main metrics that governments are interested in are around re-offending, and certainly there are studies that show that, especially after violent crime, that re-offending decreases. There have also been studies into cost effectiveness.

But for victims, kind of through a victim-oriented lens, what we're looking for is whether victims are, you know, overall satisfied with the process, but more than that, that they're, you know, that they've, you know, that they're more able to kind of process what happened and to get back a sense of kind of meaning and purpose and wellbeing.

And absolutely, you know, in study, yeah, nearly universally, victims find the process powerful, it gives them voice, it gives a safe space for that facilitated conversation, so those procedural justice needs are met. And it can also then provide very practical, it's a practical avenue for having other needs met. So some victims talk about a need for a particular answer, really, really specific things.

And that's really the only way we have to kind of get those answers. So when we talk about restorative, it can, it's often face-to-face, but it can be a facilitated exchange of letters. It can be a series of phone calls, some letters exchanged and a face-to-face meeting. There's some flexibility there, which is, which is good as a response to victim needs.

Petrina: Yeah. Because I can imagine there might be some victims who would not feel comfortable sitting in the same room as the offender. And there might be, you know, particular crimes where that might just not be appropriate, but sending letters might be an alternative.

Dr Jane Bolitho: That's absolutely right. Especially when we're talking about violent crime, there's, you know, there's obviously a great deal of fear about, about coming face-to-face with someone, even when that someone is someone within your family or within your network, it, it can be very, it can be very scary.

And so especially, I think some of the work that we've done in prison shows that you can alleviate some of that stress by having victims, for example, visit the prison beforehand, or be shown in the room, to imagine sitting in the seat, to practice almost rehearsing what you might say and what might be said back to, to kind of, to help with that.

Petrina: Yeah. And I guess that's why it would help having a supporter there, I know, Victim Support accompanies victims to restorative justice conferences. And we've had a pilot in Auckland where we've had support workers working alongside victims in the, in the youth justice space as well. Because sometimes when you're in that space, in that room, you might forget what you want to say.

And, you know, you've got this opportunity and it's such an important one, because you're not going to get that through the traditional criminal justice route often in court, you know, unless you're reading out your victim impact statement. So I can imagine there's actually quite a lot riding on the restorative justice conference for victims.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think the pace of the restorative justice session, ideally, in the kind of best practice world is, is matched to what that victim needs. Yeah. And that having that support person sitting alongside them and being there for the journey can be incredibly helpful. Also remembering that, you know, victims, you know, like, come, there's so much diversity in, in kind of, in the world and in our humanness, and we have such different needs. So I'm thinking specifically, for example, of supporting victims that, that are not neurotypical.  And there's, yeah, we've, we've, there have been some really wonderful examples we've observed as researchers where you might have specialist victim support sitting outside the circle, or alongside, and the victim sits outside the circle, speaking for them or advocating for them or alongside them.

And there are lots of things a facilitator can do just to, you know, simplify language or to take more breaks or to, yeah, it's quite carefully choreographed so that it works.

Petrina: That's awesome. I mean, it's really heartening to hear that so much of the process is actually centred around the victim and their needs. And something that we hear sometimes from victims at Victim Support is that they have this perception, or I should say, it's a misperception, really, that restorative justice is mainly for the offender, because they're aware that if it happens just before the sentencing, the judge is going to take into account, perhaps, that the offender, you know, decided to and was willing to engage in restorative justice. So, you know, it's got that, that perception that it's about the offender, but it's not really, is it?

Dr Jane Bolitho:  It, look, to be honest, it does, it does vary. I mean, the majority of restorative programmes are victim oriented, and they start with the needs of a victim and build from there. But if we think about, you know, there's such a proliferation of practice, and there are certainly some offender oriented programmes in that you might, and I'm thinking of victim empathy building services within a prison, for example, that might be labelled restorative.

There are programmes such as through the Sycamore Tree Project, where they might meet a surrogate victim, which is a person that's been through the same kind of crime, but not the actual event itself, who's brought into the prison, and it is a facilitated restorative type meeting, but it's not what we might call a pure restorative, which would be with the actual person's harmed and the person's responsible in that face to face encounter.

So we might kind of classify those kinds of initiatives as a little bit more offender focused, because they are about building that offender's capacity for empathy, but long term, of course, there's benefit to the community, and the prevention of future crimes is victim oriented.

Petrina: So can you think of any personal examples, you know, during your background as a mediator, through the research that you've done, where you've seen some real success stories for victims?

Dr Jane Bolitho: There are some really, there are some really wonderful examples I can think of from years ago in the youth justice setting, where you might have two young people in a school setting, and punches are thrown, and friendship circles are broken, and trust needs to be rebuilt. And with both parties motivated and supported to be there, it's just what they needed. It's just a conversation that needs to happen, and allows them just to go back to school and to get on with things. And for that young person that was responsible for the crime, to kind of not have to go through the court process and have a lot of heavy intervention, it can, you know, that kind of thing is really wonderful to see.

But a lot of my work has been at the more heavy end of the spectrum, which is after a very violent crime. And I think then, you know, we're talking about emotional transformation, and because we're seeing victims that are actually traumatised, and perhaps 5, 10, 15, we've seen somebody, we've seen some cases, you know, 20 plus years after the crime, significantly impacted with recurring thoughts about the incident, those intrusive flashbacks, they've described it like a videotape that's playing all the time, and really significantly affected around anniversaries where somebody's been killed, and really not having much of a quality of life, so not able to work, not able to parent, not able to sustain relationships that they're, you know, and friendships.

So, and what we've seen with restorative in those cases, there has to be so much preparation to make it safe. Yeah. But yes, absolutely, that people walk out and time and time again will say they feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. And suddenly, you know, two weeks later they've gone back to book club or whatever social things they were up to before.

Petrina: Yeah, that's amazing. So what do you think the reason for that is? I mean, is it because they get to say what they wanted to say that they've never been able to say before to that person? Is that part of it?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, a lot of our research work has been trying to match those motivations for attending the dialogue to what has actually happened and why they feel better afterwards. And for some people it is, for some people it is simply the exchange of information. We've, you know, there were some really, really hard cases to watch but where victim-survivors where a child had been killed came into conversation and they just wanted to know what their child's last words were and that piece of information was so powerful for them.

Of course, it does not erase what happened, it's not a panacea, it's just a piece of the jigsaw for them that helped them to move on. And same with some driving, causing death cases where restorative is used a fair bit. People want to know why did you run away from the scene? You know, what else could you? Those kinds of, so the exchange of information is powerful.

But for other people I think that it's the, I think that it, the meeting can disrupt some very kind of some views that are kind of going around and around in their head about, about the person responsible. And they might be, you know, thought of as a monster and terrifying and scary and especially in cases in jail, it might be many years later and that person looks frail and ill and not powerful and possibly remorseful and so that mismatch allows that person to kind of re-, to kind of just reimagine. And they feel better for it.

Petrina: Yeah, reframing the story.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Reframing, that's right, re-narrating the story.

Petrina: Yes, that's right. And do some victims get an apology from the offender?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yes, apology is such an interesting area to study. An apology is, it's not that restorative mandates apology, that would be wrong. It's better to think of apology as, some people see it as a gift, some people see it as a bonus. I suppose the conference very naturally and organically kind of leads people to saying, oh, sorry, often. So generally there is an apology. And if the apology is, is received, if the victim sees it to be genuine, then it can be really powerful. And for some people that's exactly what's needed. Personal accountability. You know, I did this, this and this, and I'm saying sorry for this, this and this.

Petrina: That's right. Yeah, that's interesting. Because in our research, a lot of victims said that accountability or lack of offender accountability was what contributed to the sense that there was no justice done for them. And these were people whose offender was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment, but it's that personal accountability, isn't it? Especially if an offender pleads not guilty, you know, they're not acknowledging it.

But I'm assuming that restorative justice could only take place, you mentioned it earlier, if the offender actually pleads guilty or at some point acknowledges their response, their personal responsibility?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, that is one of the core principles underscoring restorative initiatives, that to be in a room with a person harmed, that other person needs to have acknowledged what happened and to have taken some responsibility for it.

In different services, that looks a bit different. So in some programs, it's yes, you must have pled guilty. In other programs, it might be that you don't deny that the event took place. It's also interesting to think of all the restorative initiatives that happen outside of the legal system. Where harms are not necessarily criminalised, the matters haven't been reported to police, but people acknowledge that something wrong happened.

People kind of think, oh, you know, why would the person responsible put their hand up to go to a restorative encounter when they don't have to? When they're not under the shadow of the law?  Actually, there are lots of help-seeking perpetrators who do feel remorse and guilt, especially when they know each other, want to find a way to live in the community or live in the family group, and this is the mechanism that they use.

Petrina: Wow, it's just so many applications, aren't there, really?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, that's right. I mean, restorative has often, historically, has been used reactively after the crime, but we're even seeing now the use of restorative proactively, especially in workplaces, for example, where you might go in and try and build a healthy workplace culture to avoid having to do that reactive work later.

Petrina: Exactly. Yes. Yeah. I can imagine that it could be quite an emotional experience as well for both the offender and the victim sometimes.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah. Restorative justice is a mechanism that works with emotion, not against emotion. In fact, I think it's one of the distinguishing features of it as a justice innovation. You know, even when, you know, if you think about mediation, emotions tend to be squashed down or thought, you know, let's, you know, talk about how you feel about it later or with a psychologist or something.

In restorative, it's actually encouraged. It's a core part of being who you are. So facilitators are trained to identify sadness, grief, anger, joy. Yes. Interest and excitement and to work with them and not feel uncomfortable. They're trained to sit with silence if somebody's crying, just to acknowledge that and to be with it and not feel embarrassed. And that might be from the offender or the victim side.

Petrina: Yeah. Wow. Given all that emotion, I can imagine that it would take quite a lot of courage on both parts to come together.

Dr Jane Bolitho: It takes so much courage and it's probably, as a researcher, the thing that I find most wonderful, especially when we kind of follow people and their story, is to see people kind of finally arriving at the door of the conference and often needing to step back into the car park and having that facilitator come back out and talk through a few things again and then get back, you know, take that step into the room. And then to be in the circle. People, you know, often make their space quite comfortable. They might bring in things that they, you know, that they need for, that make them feel secure because, yeah, it's a courageous conversation.

It's really, really hard. Yes. It is an emotional rollercoaster. So at the end, people feel very tired. We've heard from victims that, you know, you might need a day, you might need two, you might need a couple of weeks to actually, a little bit longer, to process what's going on.

Petrina: Yes. So a lot of build-up to prepare and then a lot of sort of debriefing and processing to follow up as well. But very powerful.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, very powerful. A bit of a rollercoaster. I think one of the papers we wrote was called On Being Good, Good, Sad.  Which is, you know, about that mixed emotion that, you know, often after harmful events, there is, yeah, there's a lot of negative emotions to work through, but there's also that sense of resolution.

That's being good, sad.

Petrina: So you've come over from Australia just a couple of years ago to take up the Diana Unwin Chair at Te Nāpara Centre for Restorative Practice at Victoria University. So what's some of the research that you and your team are doing there at the moment?

Dr Jane Bolitho: The most exciting thing about the research agenda is that in New Zealand, you have, you apply restorative outside of the criminal justice setting. And so we're doing a lot of work in the health space around adverse events, where there's, you know, the same emotions of grief and loss and sadness and unexpected...unexpected death, for example, and teams that need to work together. And so understanding what restorative can do and how it works in that setting is one piece of of work.

And then we've got other, you know, we've, we kind of, I suppose, you know, research as needs arise. Yeah, in the community. So there's some interest in doing some work off the Christchurch mosque attacks and understanding hate crime and what could we do restoratively to bring communities, you know, grossly disrupted and into conversation? Yes, that's another piece of work. That's, that's on the go.

Petrina: Yeah, because restorative is not just looking at a individual victim. It's also looking at a community too, isn't it?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Absolutely. Yeah, I think that's one of the critiques of restorative has been that it's too much focused on just individual people. And you know, what, what is it that it says about, you know, the world that we're living in? And so absolutely, where there are groups of victim survivors, communities that have been affected, we can use restorative and tackle much more kind of, you know, really complex kind of political issues. So restorative in transitional justice settings is an example, is work in Ireland. There's restorative justice work. You know, restorative diplomacy is an interesting article by John Braithwaite on Ukraine, for example, and how and why, you know, how restorative fits in a peace building framework.

Petrina: Fascinating. Yeah, yeah. So what's happening in New Zealand? What are some of the cutting edge things? You know, where can you see restorative justice heading in our country?

Dr Jane Bolitho: The thing that's exciting about New Zealand is that there's a good understanding from across the country of what restorative is and what it means. And, and there are champions of restorative dotted in important government locations, such as the Chief Victims Advisor, who, you know, supports restorative work.

And, you know, because the Victims' Rights Act supports so much restorative engagement in the criminal justice system, we see that there are schemes everywhere. So we've got, you know, in the diversionary space, we've got Te Pae Oranga, the Iwi Justice Panels, and then we've got family group conferencing in the youth justice setting. And then we've kind of got pre-sentencing models, and we've got a tiny bit of post-sentencing practice.

So, you know, kind of enabling, helping to enable all of that work is part of, is part of our job in terms of finding out what works, how's it working, what can we do to improve, understanding international developments and feeding that back into, to the schemes here.

Petrina: There's a lot of hope, you know, especially since I think it seems to answer or address a lot of the challenges that victims are currently facing in the criminal justice system. You know, the lack of voice and lack of accountability and participation. And yeah, I mean, it's just, there's hope, I think, really, for victims.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Absolutely. There is hope because of the many restorative schemes, but we could be doing more. I think it's quite interesting to think about the use of restorative in redress, historical redress packages and schemes. They, in the last kind of five years, have been emerging all kind of over the world in response to victim needs, in response to recognising historical crimes and the fact that often our legal system can't do much about them.

And so we're seeing things like in Australia, there was the Australian Defence Force historical redress scheme where defence personnel had been abused and the restorative justice engagement scheme kind of brought into conversation institutional rep and that survivor into conversation.

There's also instances where there's been like the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual abuse in Australia, the direct personal response is a facilitated conversation and allowing for many of the faith based groups who are responsible for grave injustices to be held accountable by those victims.

In New Zealand, I would love to see that happen. You know, as redress schemes emerge. But to date, we haven't had that.

Petrina: One day, hopefully.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah. In the literature on restorative justice, we talk about victims and offenders. Yeah. More and more in the restorative world, we have a challenge to that terminology. We talk about persons responsible and persons harmed. Right. And the reason for that is that, you know, comes out of the, you know, feminist critique of the terminology of a victim being disempowering, powerless, vulnerable and very passive. And from that feminist kind of critique, you know, people started using the term survivor.

But there's been some wonderful work by Associate Professor Shirley Julich at Massey University in this country, kind of complicating that further. And she argues that in sexual assault matters and working restoratively, that we need to be strategic in the use of our terminology. And understanding that for some, in some moments, that the term victim might well apply, especially if it's a violent crime. We acknowledge that grave injustice and there's a gendered harm. At other times, we want to use the term survivor and because it's empowering.  And that it means that somebody's, you know, got capacity, not just they are more than the event or the events in question are able to move on.

So I think in restorative work, it's really, we kind of, we do try and use language very carefully and strategically to enable people to move on and to address what happened, though, as well, to hold people to account.

Petrina: Yeah, yeah, that's right. And it's a problem that we have as well, the terminology, because not everybody identifies as a victim. And some would prefer to be called victims because it does acknowledge, perhaps for the first time, that legally they have had a crime committed against them. But other people object to that.

And they see themselves that they've never seen themselves as a victim. And often that's why they don't seek help, because they don't see themselves as a victim. They didn't even know that they actually perhaps legally were in the first place. So it's a tricky one. But yeah, generally, the people who have been harmed or the survivors or the victims, they know, don't they? And that's all part of the empowerment, is letting them choose how they describe, you know, they're in control of their own narrative. And I can see that's how restorative processes can help them.

Dr Jane Bolitho: Yeah, that's right

Petrina: So final question, Jane, if you could wave a magic wand and make one thing better for victims in New Zealand, what would it be?

Dr Jane Bolitho: I'd like to wave the wand twice. Okay. I think that victims need choice and voice and flexibility. And that while we have some good restorative options, it's not necessarily respond, doesn't respond well to when a victim most needs it. And I remember reading a wonderful paper about a just, which advocated for something called a justice menu, which is a victim oriented lens on the fact that when a victim something, you know, a crime happens, you might, you might have access to the legal system, you might have not, you might not. And you might need the legal system and you might not. And later on, you might want to have a dialogue with a person responsible, or you might not.

These things change over time. And our justice system needs to recognise that people have different needs and to have that smorgasbord of options available so that people can be supported into them at the right moment. So that's, that's one thing.

The other thing I'd just like to, I suppose, advocate for is that while we were mainly in this conversation talking about crime and victims and victim being, you know, defined through the legal system. There are so many harms that are not reported and not recorded that could be criminalised. But where people have been, people are responsible and people are harmed. And I suppose I'd like all of us to better recognise how we can support those victims. And we can work restoratively in that space too.

Petrina: Yeah. You mean like if we personally know a victim or somebody in our family?

Dr Jane Bolitho: Absolutely. So I think the work that, you know, even thinking about campaigns like Are you OK? Advocating and training and, you know, teaching the community to kind of identify when somebody's struggling, to walk alongside them and support them and to not feel ashamed or embarrassed.

And even when somebody doesn't want to take a matter to the police that there are, support them to know that they're heard, that they're validated and that things can be done to address their justice needs, even if it's not the legal system.

Petrina: Yes. Well, I think we need to continue this conversation. Oh, well, thank you so much for joining us today, Jane.

Dr Jane Bolitho: My pleasure. Thank you.

Thank you for joining us today for The Impact Statement. I hope that you'll tune in for the next conversation. And a big thank you to Scots College here in Wellington for the use of their recording studio. Victim Support really appreciates their generous support.