Key Personnel

Leigh Garrett

Leigh Garrett is the Chief Executive Officer of OARS Community Transitions and the Centre for Restorative Justice.  Leigh has been a passionate advocate for restorative approaches to justice since 1996. In 1997 he established the Centre for Restorative Justice – a response to significant community feeling that different approaches to justice were needed to ensure that the current Criminal Justice System did not contribute even further to the damage and harm experienced by victims of crime.

Leigh is committed to the belief that the increasing rights of victims will demand more services and funding to assist healing after crime. Some of this healing may involve restorative approaches that provide options for victims and offenders to meet in structured and positive ways to assist in repairing any harm. This should never be compulsory, but surveys of victims that have been able to engage in restorative practices, are positive.  Many victims are happier with the process and the outcome of restorative conferencing than they are of traditional court processes.

Leigh has developed restorative approaches in schools in South Australia and the CRJ has trained hundreds of teaches and assisted many schools, both Government and Independent.  The Centre has also assisted businesses with conflict resolution

Leigh has a degree in Education, a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health Management and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He has undertaken restorative justice training in the USA, holding a Certificate in “Restorative Justice Principles, Practices and Implementation” from the US Department of Justice.  He has been trained in the USA at the University of Minnesota in Restorative Circles and holds management and governance credentials.   He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders.  Leigh was been engaged as a Consultant by the Thailand Government to assist in implementing Restorative Justice in the Youth and Family Courts.

He has previously been a Ministerial appointee of the SA Correctional Services Advisory Council and is a Life Member of the South Australian Council of Social Services (SACOSS).  Leigh is currently:

  • Chair of the Board of Unity Housing Company
  • Board Member of the Australian Crime Prevention Council (National)
  • Board Member, Social Impact Investment Network SA (SIINSA)
  • Board Member, South Australian Network of Drugs & Alcohol Services (SANDAS)

In 2002 Leigh’s achievements in the Not-For-Profit sector were recognised when he was awarded the National ‘CEO of the Year for the NFP Sector’ by Equity Trustees.

Deb Black

Deb is a Resolution Institute (LEADR/IAMA) nationally accredited Mediator and utilises blended processes of dispute resolution, including facilitative mediation, transformative mediation and conferencing. Deb focuses on assisting parties maintain constructive working relationships and assists organisations and individuals develop skills to understand and manage conflict in a constructive manner to minimise impact on individuals and workplace dynamics.

Deb has recently studied and begun utilising restorative justice/practice facilitation and conferencing as a vehicle for addressing emotional impacts of conflict in group, industrial and other settings, where the legal processes do not accommodate dealing with the community impacts of conflict.

Deb has over 30 years’ experience in the Banking and Finance industry, in South Africa and Australia, with a proven track record of facilitating positive outcomes for business and individuals.

Deb has broad ranging commercial mediation experience across:

  • Industrial relations;
  • Leadership development;
  • Innovation and strategy;
  • Risk management; and
  • Conflict resolution and Coaching;


  • Graduate member – Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors
  • Member – Resolution Institute (LEADR/IAMA)
  • Member – Australian Human Resource Institute (CAHRI)
  • Resolution Institute (LEADR/IAMA) – NMAS Accredited Mediator
  • Member – Australian Counselling Association (NP)


  • Bachelor of Social Science – Major: Human Services – UniSA
  • Grad Cert in Mediation – UniSA
  • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training – TafeSA
  • Diploma Professional Counselling – AIPC
  • VARJ (Victorian Association of Restorative Justice) – Conflict Transformation through Group Conferencing