Restorative Justice in
Abbotsford began in 2001



  • A group of youths broke approximately a dozen windows at their school during the night. The School Board billed the families for hundreds of dollars each for the damage. The School Liaison filed this as a Mischief case, and referred it to Restorative Justice with the agreement of the youths and parents.


  • The mediators met with the youths and parents to discuss the incident, the issues, and the financial and emotional impacts surrounding it.
  • The mediators then met with the Principal and the School Liaison Officer to hear their version of the events, the emotional and financial impact on the school community, and the questions and concerns this incident had raised.
  • A second meeting with the youths and families to hear their thoughts on what they could do to repair the harm, and to prepare them for mediation.


  • The boys each gave their version of the story, as did the Principal, and each of the parents.
  • A number of issues emerged, and the mediators led a discussion that addressed the feelings, concerns, and issues of each person. Every participant was able to ask questions, and to give their perspective on what was needed to set things right.
  • Two mediators took the youths to another room so they could create their own plan of restitution. An assistant mediator stayed with the parents and the Principal, facilitating sharing and discussion, and serving refreshments.


  • The boys brought back a plan to work at jobs or sell some of their own possessions to pay for the windows.
  • The Principal suggested that they could do physical work right at the school, which he would receive instead of cash payment.
  • The parents and youths were happy with this, and a contract was written and signed by all parties, documenting the specifics of how many hours of work were needed from each, and when the work would be done.
  • The youths’ response: “The Principal gave up his free time to clean up our mess, so we should give up our free time to help him.”
  • All the participants expressed satisfaction with the process.
  • The youths completed their work for the school in approximately one month’s time, and the case was concluded as a successful file.