Language plays an important role in reintegration. 

The acronym VACRO stands for the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. While this is our organisation's full legal name, over time we've come to understand that using words like 'offender' are not the most appropriate or accurate way to refer to the people we work with. That's why we simply call ourselves VACRO.

We know that language plays an important role in reintegration. Terms like ‘offender’ stereotype and shame people, which makes it harder to integrate into society. For us, offending is one small part of a much bigger picture. A person can’t change the things they’ve done, but they can still change the course of their life. Calling a person an 'offender' traps them permanently in the worst mistake they’ve made.

We believe in people's capacity to change.

That's why we we strive for language that reflects people’s dignity, humanity and diversity.

You'll hear us talk about 'people caught in the criminal justice system' and 'people in (or leaving) prison'. In relation to our programs, we refer to 'people we work with' or 'program participants'.

We recognise that the criminal justice system causes harm to people, families and entire communities. Using language that recognises people’s humanity helps us to minimise that harm and focus on new beginnings.