Victims of family violence and sexual assault will soon be able to confront the person who harmed them in an extension of the ACT's restorative justice program.
Justice minister Shane Rattenbury said stricter safeguards will be in place when survivors, their supporters and offenders meet in controlled conditions from next year.
The voluntary program has helped offenders realise the full impact of their crime and make reparations for more than a decade.
For victims, the process can offer a measure of closure.
It first became an option for juvenile offenders of less serious crimes, then was extended to adult offenders and juveniles who had committed more serious crimes. This extension is the third and final phase of the program.
More than 1000 referrals have been made to the restorative justice unit since 2005, with 728 conferences held.
That only three-quarters of referrals resulted in an offender and victim sitting down speaks to the rigorous conditions that have to be met before a meeting takes place, Mr Rattenbury said.
Almost 850 agreements have been made with a 92 per cent compliance rate.
More than $97,000 has been paid back to victims, nearly 3500 volunteer hours have been put back into the community and nearly 1200 hours of counselling have been done to stop the perpetrator from reoffending.
"Restorative justice has been shown to be powerful for people in processing emotions, in seeking a sense of justice, and having an understanding of why the crime took place," Mr Rattenbury said.
Victim support groups said the widening of the program should be accompanied by extra measures of support for survivors of sexual and family violence.
Tara Costigan Foundation chief executive Nadia Pessarossi said restorative justice could be a "double-edged" sword but if done correctly could empower survivors and give them their control back.
"It has to be on the survivor's terms and it can't be the perpetrator calling the shots," Ms Pessarossi said.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre chief executive officer Christina Stanford said she was not against restorative justice, but survivors hoping the process would provide closure should approach it with caution.
"We seem to approach recovery like it's a linear process where you get closure at end and that's difficult. People can move back and forward on that path and sometimes it can take years and years and years to recover," Ms Stanford said.
"We need to be really careful that we're not saying the impacts of trauma will be solved by one thing.
"Given sexual assault is about the abuse of power, we have to be cautious about how we use power to support people getting their lives back to way they feel okay with."
However Mr Rattenbury said those power dynamics would be closely assessed long before a victim and offender are placed in a room together.
"I think what's important is that it will not be appropriate all cases, it's always voluntary and it will only take place where the victim agrees but also where the perpetrator is willing to take responsibility for the crime they committed," Mr Rattenbury said.
"There can be a misconception that it is a soft option but that ignores benefits can be experienced by victims or their families who might be emotional stuck in the aftermath.
"It's not just two people sitting in a room, there's a series of preparatory meetings that are held separately before that conference takes place.
"The facilitator plays an important part in deciding if there is space for a beneficial process to take place. If they form the view the victim is not ready or perpetrator is not genuine then the facilitator will not allow the meeting to go ahead."
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. You can call the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on (02) 6247 2525. In an emergency contact 000.