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FAQs about Restorative Justice

What is restorative justice?

Restorative justice (RJ) is an alternative measure to the traditional criminal justice system. It seeks to repair the harm caused by crime and violence by: - Allowing the affected party to be heard and addressing their needs; - Holding responsible parties accountable for their actions and become aware of the harm their behaviour has caused; and - Engaging the community in the process.

What is our role in helping with restorative justice?

We facilitate Community Justice Forums here in the Cowichan Valley. These are formal meetings that involve the affected party and responsible party, supporters/family, mentors, and community members. The goal of these forums is to create a consensus-based group agreement that will repair the harm done by the offending behaviour.  These Forums are run by our volunteer facilitators and mentors, who have been trained by our skilled coordinators.

Why do we use the terms "affected party" and "responsible party"?

Since RJ is an alternative to the criminal justice system, we do not use criminal justice terms when referring to individuals involved in our program. The victim is referred to as the Affected Party (AP), and the offender is referred to as the Responsible Party (RP).

Who benefits from restorative justice?

Everyone involved in the process! Here are some of the many benefits: For the Affected Party: - Participate in the resolution of the offence - Understand the RP's behaviour - Increased possibility of recieving restitution - A safe place to tell the RP how the incident has affected them - Experience a sense of closure For the RP: - Accept responsibility for the offence - Take action to resolve and repair the harm - Become aware of the harm suffered by the victim and the community - Participate in the resolution of the offence - Avoid a criminal record For the community: - Speedy and efficient way of resolving conflicts - Cost-effective alternative process - Offender is likely to re-offend - Opportunity for citizens to participate in community peace-making

How can you get involved?

It's people like you who help restorative justice thrive in our community! Apply to be a member here. No background in criminal justice or the like required - everyone is welcome.   If you are interested in becoming a Facilitator or a Mentor, check out our Training Sessions page. We hold sessions every few months, so please see our website for updates as dates are subject to change.

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