Thousands handed to community, victim from confiscated funds coffer

Thousands handed to community, victim from confiscated funds coffer

The government has this year handed out nearly $700,000 to community initiatives from a trust fund that collects cash from the sale of confiscated assets, an ACT government spokeswoman said.

And last year, the government released more than $110,000 from the fund, given to a victim of crime after the offender had paid a penalty order, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate spokeswoman said

The trust fund, established in 2003 under laws for the confiscation of criminal assets, was valued at more than $2 million in June this year.

The spokeswoman said that in June, the Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay approved payments to:

  • $187,000 for the development of Canberra as a "restorative city". Restorative justice refers to solutions for criminal behaviour outside the justice system. It often comes in the form of mediated encounters between victims and offenders to talk about what happened and why, and what the offender will do to fix it.
  • $138,600 towards a justice reinvestment trial to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to reduce or prevent contact with the justice system (unspent funding authorised by the previous Attorney-General), and
  • $270,000 for the bail support service trial project (unspent funding authorised by the former attorney-general). Bail support services help people with the bail process, meet bail conditions and stay out of jail.

On May 2, Mr Ramsay also approved $100,000 to the women’s safety grants program.

The women’s safety grants is money given to non-government agencies in the ACT’s women’s sector for projects in line with the government’s prevention of violence against women and children strategy.

To date, the four payments have amounted to $695,600.

The spokeswoman also said that in August last year the attorney-general approved a one-off payment of $111,572 to a victim of crime, following the payment of a penalty order by the offender.

The money from the fund comes from police and prosecutors seizing cash and assets such as cars and houses from people who are accused of committing crimes.

Of the funds remaining in the trust account, the spokeswoman said the directorate was preparing advice for the attorney-general. She said there was no timeframe for decisions about payments.

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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