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Chief Executive Officer,

OARS Community Transitions

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 teachers 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 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 of the National Indigenous Network Initiative

  • Board Member of Community Accommodation & Respite Agency Inc (CARA)

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.



Manager Restorative Services,

Centre for Restorative Justice

Deb joined The Centre for Restorative Justice in early 2017 as a Restorative Justice Conference Facilitator and Trainer.  Deb is committed to alternative dispute resolution that utilises blended processes in order to accommodate and engage in discussion that addresses all parties’ needs.  

Deb has studied Restorative Justice conferencing through both Mediators Beyond Borders International (utilising IIIRP – International Inst. of Restorative Practice training) and VARJ (Victorian Association of Restorative Justice – now AARJ) and uses Restorative Practice/Justice to facilitate and provide conferencing as a vehicle for addressing emotional impacts of conflict in group, industrial and other settings. 

Traditional legal and statutory processes do not accommodate dealing with the community or emotional impacts of conflict. Deb has a proven track record of facilitating positive outcomes for business and individuals through a relational approach to conflict and behaviour development.

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 broad ranging experience across:

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


  • Graduate member – Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors

  • Member – Resolution Institute (LEADR/IAMA) – NMAS Accredited Mediator

  • Graduate member – Australian Institute of Company Directors

  • Member – Mediators Beyond Borders International


  • Bachelor of Social Science – Major: Human Services – UniSA

  • Grad Cert in Mediation – UniSA

  • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training – TafeSA



Educator Restorative Services,

Centre For Restorative Justice

Amanda joined the team at the Centre for Restorative Justice, bringing with her 12 years’ experience in adult education and training. Amanda has 25 years’ experience within the healthcare industry, as both a practitioner and educator. Holding positions as a clinical facilitator and casual academic within the Flinders University School of Nursing and as a Clinical Nurse Educator. 

Amanda’s professional approach within educational and clinical settings, utilises the principles of restorative practice and processes to communicate with the diverse and often vulnerable populations that are part of her daily working life.

Amanda’s strong value base, rooted in social justice, underpins her belief that effective communication and advocacy are the foundations for all interactions within our community. This area of interest encompasses Amanda’s professional practice and carries through to her personal interests, where she can often be found volunteering in a variety of community programs.


Over the years this has included participating in many fundraising events, volunteering at Assembly Day’s for the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia and following the 2020 Kangaroo Island Bushfires, taking leave from her paid employment to return to her hometown, assisting in the large volunteer response after this significant event.

Amanda completed her Bachelor of Nursing degree at Flinders University and has experience working within the public and private healthcare sectors in South Australia. In 2007 she completed her Graduate Diploma at Adelaide University and following this, began working as an educator.

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